Wandle cleanup: June 2015: Sutton

The one with our new Invasive Species Officer

WatermeadsI had been very excited about this cleanup for a while as it was being held in the newly opened Watermeads Nature Reserve near Poulter Park – a truly beautiful site for a Wandle Trust event!

The event was funded through the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership. To start the event off, we introduced our new Invasive Species Officer – Alan Martin. Alan is working to coordinate the control of invasive species along the entire Wandle corridor with the help of other organisations, local landowners and volunteers.

After the Health & Safety briefing, all 41 of us divided up into 5 teams…

The Briefing

Team 1: The litter pickers!

Since Watermeads was so newly opened to the public, the litter pickers weren’t sure how much general rubbish they would find, but as always they tracked some down! Using our newly purchased litter pickers and our new bag hoops provided by the Capital Cleanup fund, they dispersed into Watermeads and returned with bags of litter!

Waders gonna wade

 

Teams 2 & 3: Wandle waders and bank support  

Again armed with new litter pickers, our wading team headed to the far end of the reserve to hop in the Wandle and start hunting down rubbish. Although shallow in the reserve, the river bed was very silty so the waders made slow progress as they moved upstream. With such high levels of silt, finding rubbish was a challenge – but that didn’t stop them! Using their feet they discovered two trolleys, rolls of carpet and several traffic cones and tyres, all before coffee time.

Trolley

Team 4: Balsam bashers

The Watermeads Nature Reserve was full of Himalayan balsam so Theo led a team to track down each plant and pull it out, roots and all. They first tackled balsam along the edge of the river and paths – to ensure these plants wouldn’t seed and spread further downstream. After this, the team bravely ventured into the undergrowth of nettles and brambles to find forests of balsam standing well above their heads.

Balsam Bashers

Team 5: Floating pennywort

Alan was keen to tackle the backwater pond in Watermeads which was full of floating pennywort – a highly invasive aquatic plant which can smother a water body and impede water flow. However, the site was challenging as the water was too deep for our waders. Some creative thinking was called for…

Pennywort piles

Volunteers used grappling hooks and rakes to pull in pennywort from the banks. It was a strange sight to see – volunteers lassoing hooks across the pond in the hope of snagging a large raft of pennywort. They quickly cleared one side of the bank and were in need of support to reach the other side.

HMS Pennywort

 

Boating

Two lucky volunteers stepped up and got into a boat. Using very, very small paddles, they freed pennywort from the other side and used grappling hooks to tow the rafts back to the bank. A true example of team work.

Pennyowrt Barrier

Meanwhile, Alan wanted to be sure the pennywort wasn’t spreading any further downstream. With the help of Dave, they created a barrier at the end of the pond to catch any straying bits of pennywort, containing the invasive in one place.

It was a very busy day but we achieved so much in just four hours! So a BIG thank you to all our volunteers who came and we look forward to seeing you at the next one on July 12th in Hackbridge – details to follow soon!

Rubbish Haul

So what did we find?  1 baseball bat, 1 old hairdryer, 1 fire extinguisher, 1 Hindu statue, 1 shovel head, 2 carpets, 4 footballs (including 1 Finding Nemo football, so glad we found him), 3 traffic cones, 3 trolleys, 5 plastic guttering poles, 11 tyres, piles of wood and metal sheets, many bags of other miscellaneous rubbish, piles and piles of Himalayan balsam and even larger piles of floating pennywort!

We found Nemo

Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up van after the event, Sally and Ann for catering for our volunteers (carrot cake and cheese scones were delicious!), Jackie for supervising the Event Tent, Theo, Sally and Alan for helping supervise everyone on the day, National Trust for letting us loose in Watermeads Nature Reserve and the Waste Management Team at Sutton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aaron, AJ, Amarapuspa, Ann, Barry, Carol, Charles, Daniel B, Dave J, Dave W, David, Dennis, Derek, Ed, Felix, Harrison, Henry, Ian, Jackie, James W, Jane, Joe, John L, John N, Kas, Keith S, Marta, Marion, Mark, Nicholas, Nick H, Nick W, Per, Richard, Rose, Sally, Sue, Tara, Theo and Thomas C.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?  That you have to be very creative when tackling pennywort in a pond too deep to wade!

Pennywort

 

New job at SERT delivering river restoration!

A new opportunity has opened up to work with us in physical river restoration and delivery of catchment wide enhancements.

The scope of the position has now been expanded to allow applications at both Project Officer or Senior Project Officer level.

HackbridgeBefore  HackbridgeAfter

The job description can be found here: JobDescription_ProjectsOfficerSeniorProjectsOfficer_RR

And the application form here:Application_ProjectsOfficerOrSeniorProjectsOfficerRiverRestoration

To apply, please send your completed application form, together with a copy of your CV (2 pages max.) to jobs@southeastriverstrust.org before 9am on Tuesday 30th June 2015. Interviews will be held on Friday 3rd July. Second interviews, if held, will be on Wednesday 8th July 2015.

Welcome to our new Education Officer!

The Wandle Trust is proud to introduce David Gill as our new Education Officer.

David Gill - Education OfficerDavid is going to be responsible for following on from the very successful ‘Trout in the Classroom’ programme that we ended last year.

We’ll aim to draw on David’s extensive experiences of working in the classroom to create a very innovative teaching and learning package that will engage children and young people throughout the catchment of the Wandle. A project that is possible through the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership, funded by the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund.

David has been teaching for over twenty years and has taught everyone from pre-school to adults! He has travelled around the world for both business and for pleasure. David also works as an Education Officer for a local wildlife trust where he initiates and develops Programmes of Study in line with the revised National Curriculum. He is particularly interested in the incorporation of information technology in to environmental learning.

David completed his degree in Environmental Sciences at UEA in Norwich before embarking on his Post Graduate Certificate of Education in secondary school geography and sciences. His classroom experiences include teaching in a remote jungle school in Papua New Guinea, working with street children in Southern India and tutoring via the radio in the Australian outback.

David says ‘I am looking forward to the challenges of this exciting job – I hope that in working with schools we can increase the awareness of the Wandle in to the lives of local children and their families in a fun and practical way’.

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Could you be our new Catchment Manager?

We’re recruiting!

We’re looking for an enthusiastic, natural leader with a good level of knowledge of river and catchment enhancement techniques.  The role will support new and existing partnerships across the South East Rivers Trust area, bringing people and organisations together to identify and discuss catchment issues and develop projects to tackle them.

Further details can be found here: CatchmentManager_JobDescription; and an application form here: CatchmentManagerApplication.  If you would like to apply, please submit your CV (2 pages maximum) together with a completed application form by 12 noon on Thursday 4th June 2015.

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Beddington Park: Add Your Voice!

This year there is a Heritage Lottery Fund project to restore Beddington Park, including the lakes and the River Wandle. The Wandle Trust have been involved in developing the bid with Sutton Council, providing expertise and guidance.

If you’re a user of Beddington Park or live close by, please take the time to complete this short survey to add your voice to how you use the Park and how you’d like to see it improved!

Click here to take the survey

Wandle cleanup: May 2015: Merton

The one with 20 oranges…

The sun was shining in all its glory for our May cleanup at North Road in Wimbledon. We had 38 volunteers join us for this month’s cleanup which was supported by the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership funded by the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund.

Connect RightI started the cleanup with a quick talk on misconnections on the River Wandle. Most houses are served by two separate sewage systems, one for rainwater and one for waste water which is sent to the sewage treatment works. A misconnection is where an appliance such as the washing machine has been connected to the wrong sewage system, meaning untreated waste water is being discharged into the river instead of going to the sewage treatment works.

It is estimated that 300, 000 properties are currently misconnected in the Thames Catchment – a lot of unwanted pollution entering our rivers. In the summer there tends to be less rainfall meaning that misconnections are easier to spot in the river. We have volunteers hunting these down for us. To find out more about misconnections and to check your property, visit the Connect Right website.

The cleanup got underway after this, dividing into our usual teams with waders and their bank support, and litter pickers. Knowing there were lower rubbish levels (thanks to some of our recent cleanups in this area!) our wading team took a long walk down the bank before getting into the river. Meanwhile our litter pickers dispersed across Wandle Meadow Park and the nearby areas.

Waders Wading

 

Wading

Wading

We immediately started finding all sorts in the rivers: tyres, traffic cones, beer cans and bottles. We even found an orange which we all found rather amusing. However, only half an hour later our orange count had gone up to 17 – something we didn’t see coming!

Oranges

It wasn’t long until I received my first present from our waders in the form of a toy car and what we believe to be a snail flower pot.

Snailpot

Our litter pickers were also incredibly busy having discovered the aftermath of a confetti cannon – hundreds of gold bits of foil scattered in the park. A painfully slow job but they managed to pick it all up!

By lunchtime we were all very hot and welcomed a glass of squash and a piece of cake, kindly baked for us by Sally and Ann.

After lunch everyone got back to work and we moved even further up the river, under North Road bridge. Here a trolley was discovered – a classic Wandle find.

Wandle Trolley


We also found an oil drum..

Oil Drum

A huge and cumbersome piece of metal

Metal

And here is the final rubbish pile…

Rubbish Pile

So a BIG thank you to all our volunteers who came and we look forward to seeing you at the next one on June 14th!

So what did we find?  1 mattress, 1 toy soldier, 1 snail flowerpot, 1 toy car, 1 shopping basket, 1 bike, 1 iron, 1 carpet, 1 for sale sign, 1 bra, 1 quilt, 1 basketball hoop, 1 hoover head, 1 trolley, 5 traffic cones, 11 tyres, 20 oranges and 35 bags of other rubbish!

Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up van after the event, Sally and Ann for catering for our volunteers, Wally and Lawrence for helping supervise everyone on the day and the Waste Management Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aaron G, Aaron P, Ann, Bella, Charles Chris, Daniel, Dave, David H, Dennis, Derek, Felix, Gary, Ged, Gemma, Ian, Joe, John, Julia, Keith, Ken, Lawrence, Luke, Margie, Matylda, Oliver, Patrick, Penny, Per, Peter, Richard, Rob, Rose, Sally, Stella, Stewart, Theo and Wally.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?  That it is easy to get sunburnt when supervising from the bridge!

Monitoring Madness

Olly and I have taken a successful sample set from one of our Downstream Defender silt traps in Carshalton and the results look promising…

In 2013 we installed a suite of 3 Downstream Defenders as a pollution prevention method, cleaning surface water before it enters the river. This week has seen a few periods of extreme rain downfall and Olly braved the weather to look at the effect on the river.

As we know, rainwater is collected off our roads and channeled into the river by our surface water drains. Unfortunately with the rainwater goes all the other contaminants from the roads. This causes a first flush of pollution down the Wandle.

FirstFlush black wandle

Our Downstream Defenders are designed to reduce the severity of this first flush by removing some of the worst of the pollutants before they enter the Wandle.

Today we took samples of the water upstream of one of our Defenders (before) and downstream (after) to see what difference it is making to the water quality. The samples have been sent off to the lab and will not be back for a couple of months, but for now look at the difference in colour alone!

DOWNSTREAM DEFENDER

 

Wandle cleanup: April 2015: Wandsworth

The one with moped, after moped, after moped, after moped… you get the idea.

For April’s cleanup we were back at Trewint Street, a trusty location for some big rubbish items. This month’s cleanup was kindly supported by Seymour Green Estate Agents, and the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership Scheme, funded through the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund.

Getting ready

We kicked off the cleanup in the usual style and divided into 4 teams. The first team were in charge of removing two motorbikes from the river I had spotted the week beforehand, so armed with grapples and crow bars they set off.

Moped one...

The second team were also wading, but downstream of Trewint Street bridge where there was a fresh batch of rubbish to remove.

Waders

The third team provided the usual much needed bank support and finally Team 4 headed off to tackle the large pile of fly tipping on the Wandle Trail. And with almost 60 people at our cleanup – we were ready for a busy day.

Fly-tipping

No sooner had everyone got started, the motorbike team were pulling out mopeds with some pace. Turns out there were more than just the two spotted the week before. By lunchtime, 8 had been pulled out of the Wandle and we called the local police in to check the number plates.

Moped 2

Heave ho!

Our fly-tipping team were making a huge difference, removing junk wood, household objects and building waste from the large pile on the Wandle Trail. They even found a trolley which came in handy when moving the bikes.

Moped 3?

Just before lunch, the Mayor of Wandsworth, Stuart Thom, came to visit all the volunteers and see the enormous amount of rubbish we were finding.

The Mayor

By coffee time, everyone was ready for a break. The rubbish pile was already huge and it was clear we were going to break a record at this cleanup. This month’s cakes were baked for us by two new volunteers – Ida Nyander Soderhielm and Tatiana Von Gaisberg.

The afternoon saw yet more rubbish and more mopeds….

Moped 4?

Moped 5/6?

And another

So what did we find? 1 ladybug toy, 1 trolley (classic), 1 set of Christmas lights, 1 bowl, 1 radiator, 1 extension chord, 1 umbrella (not much use now), 1 mermaid painting, 1 scooter, 1 sports bag, 1 TV, 1 football, 1 orange tilt, 2 prams, 5 rugs, fencing panels, wooden pallets, 3 chairs, 3 tyres, 9 mopeds, loads of wood and around 80 bags of rubbish.

Huge thanks to those who helped me pack up and unload at the end of the day and to Jamie who kindly came to the garage with me;  Tatiana and Ida for catering for our volunteers; Wally and Chris for helping supervise everyone on the day and the Waste Management Team at Wandsworth Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the next day.

Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aaron, Adele, Aimee, Carol, Charles, Charlotte, Chris, Colin, Daniel, David H, Derek, Diana, Geroid, Hannah, Howard, Ida, James, Jamie, Jason, Jo, John N, Kate, Lea, Leigh, Luisa, Marco, Margie, Mays, Mhairi, Mike, Nicky, Oliver, Penny, Per, Pip, Richard, Rob, Russell, Sarah, Serena, Simon, Sue, Sumi, Tatiana, Tia, Victoria, Wally, Wayne, Will and William.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?  That you never know how many mopeds are lurking in the Wandle waters.

Eel tally: 4

SeymourGreen

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Rivers & Wetlands Community Day: Friday 27 March

I have had a very exciting last two weeks at the Wandle Trust having spent more time outside in the river than in the office – lucky me!

On Friday we had our second Rivers & Wetlands Community Day with 15 volunteers joining us out in the sunshine. Tim had stored up a very long to do list since our previous Rivers & Wetlands Community Day in October last year where we added 2000 plants to the restored section of the Wandle at Butter Hill in Carshalton.

Untitled

Firstly we had to add 500 native marginal plants to the newly restored section on Mill Lane. As always, we ordered a variety of different species so we could create a natural marginal community on the banks of the Wandle. Species included ragged robin, water mint, sedges and purple loosestrife.

Planting

Meanwhile, some of our volunteers tackled the invasive non-native Canadian goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)which had established on the banks of the Wandle. Canadian goldenrod produces dense stands which out-compete native species, reducing habitat diversity. We caught it early in the season when it was just coming through as small purple tinted shrubs. You can see how dense the root system is in the image below.

Canadian goldenrod

There had been a fair bit of fly-tipping since October that we were keen to tackle, so a team of us ran a mini cleanup while the planting was going on. Some highlights included a bed frame, a motorbike at Hackbridge and a car seat. In total, 40 bags were collected which is almost the number we get on a regular cleanup!

Litter picking dream team

Next on the agenda was raking and seed sowing; coppicing and pinning in some Large Woody Material which had fallen into the river.

Woody Debris

Altogether it was a busy day and we couldn’t have got it all done without our volunteers.

So thank you all for coming: Aaron, Andy, Charles, Dave J, Dave W, Derek, Geoff, James, John, Lorna, Mike, Steve, Sue and Wally.

Rivers & Wetlands Community Days

Welcome to our new Invasive Species Officer!

We’d like to give a warm welcome to our latest recruit Alan, our new Invasive Non-Native Species Officer!

Polly and Alan

We’ve stolen Alan from Scotland where he was working on Argyll’s three National Nature Reserves for Scottish Natural Heritage. Before this Alan was in Cape Town, South Africa, controlling invasive species in the metropolitan area so he has a wealth of experience.

Alan is running an invasive species project on the River Wandle as part of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership. The project aims to map invasive species along the Wandle corridor and set up management plans and volunteer teams to work towards eradication.

Alan will be tackling a wide variety of invasive non-native species including some well-known faces such as Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and giant hogweed.

Himalayan balsam

To get started, Alan has been taking a refresher in Pesticide Application along with Polly our Volunteer Officer. Here is our invasive species ghost busting team…

INS

So who you gonna call?

Alan and Polly!

Photo Credit: Himalayan balsam, GBNNSS