The Wandle Trust is recruiting a part-time Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) Officer to help coordinate and deliver work to tackle aquatic INNS on the River Wandle.
INNS can have a negative impact on rivers by both directly out-competing native species and indirectly altering habitats, for example by causing the excessive ingress of silt which can smother the natural gravel riverbed.
The post is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and is part of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership, a programme which involves the local community in the restoration and enhancement of the River Wandle landscape.
The Project Officer will be responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the River Wandle Invasive Non-Native Species Action Plan and Work Programme. The role will involve both coordinating the work of a range of partners and contributing to the delivery of the INNS Work Programme.
Further details can be found here INNSOfficer_JobDescription.
To apply please email a CV (two pages max.) and a covering letter (two pages max.) focusing on your relevant knowledge, experience and aptitude, as well as what you may bring to the role, the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership and to the Wandle Trust/South East Rivers Trust, to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is 5pm on 7th January 2015 and interviews will take place on 21st January 2015.
December 19, 2014 No Comments
Have you walked past Carshalton Ponds today? If you have, you may think it is looking a little different…
The ponds have turned a milky-white colour. But do not fear, this was intentional! Working with the Environment Agency, we have just added two tonnes of Siltex to the ponds.
Siltex is a natural chalk-like substance which helps to increase the speed of silt breakdown by stimulating natural processes. (Click here to read more about why we are doing this).
We had eight dedicated and brave volunteers join us at 8am on chilly Tuesday morning. Everyone was kitted out with waders, goggles and masks – Siltex isn’t dangerous but we wanted to be extra careful.
Steve stepped up as Captain Siltex to join Olly in the boat, throwing Siltex overboard in the deeper waters. For the morning, our vessel was kindly lent to us by Sutton Council. In the afternoon, Olly and Steve commandeered a smaller boat from the Sutton Ecology Centre. Without these boats, we wouldn’t have been able to apply the Siltex at all so we are extremely grateful to Dave Warburton, Ian Hudson, Warren Chapman, Collin Franklin and Mark Featherstone for loaning and delivering these boats on the day.
While Steve and Olly sailed the open seas, the rest of us were adding Siltex from the shore, showing off our throwing skills. This allowed us to get a good coverage over the shallower parts the boats could not access.
Throughout the day, the Environment Agency were taking readings further downstream to ensure everything was working as it should.
Olly will be monitoring this regularly for the next few months to determine if it is a cost effective solution to the management of silt at Carshalton Ponds. Last week, Olly and I took some pre-Siltex water samples on a chilly and damp morning.
Why are there four different bottles I hear you ask?
The reason for this is that there are several different substances which are of interest in the ponds. We are interested in what effect the Siltex might have in speeding up the breakdown of several contaminants (e.g. car exhaust particles) as well as reducing the overall volume of mud. Different tests are required for different substances – for instance hydrocarbons (oils and fuels) stick to plastic, so must be stored in a glass bottle if they are to be extracted and analysed. So different bottles are needed for each different test!
While we were out we rescued Woody from the Wandle – he is now our unofficial Mascot for the project! He even joined us for the Siltex event, although came out a little worse for wear….
Keep your eyes peeled for more updates!
December 10, 2014 No Comments
In a highly developed landscape such as Greater London, urban ponds can provide an important haven for wildlife and therefore it is important to keep the waters happy and healthy.
Unfortunately over time urban ponds tend to fill up with sediment washed from the surrounding area such as leaf litter and bird droppings. Have you ever been for a walk along the Wandle to Carshalton? If you have, you will have undoubtedly seen a mass gathering of wildfowl at the ponds. These high densities of geese and ducks can be a particular problem with their droppings increasing the organic content of the ponds, resulting in algae blooms and a deterioration in the water quality.
So what can we do?
The Wandle Trust are trialling Siltex in Carshalton Ponds as a potential solution to the surplus of silt.
Siltex is a natural chalk-like substance which helps to increase the speed of silt breakdown by stimulating natural processes. It is environmentally friendly and is harmless to plants and animals.
In the next week, we will be applying the Siltex powder to the mud in Carshalton Ponds. The effects of Siltex will then be monitored closely over the next few months by our staff to determine the effectiveness of the measure and its effects on water quality.
We will of course keep you updated with our news – so keep your eyes out for more Siltex blogs.
December 6, 2014 No Comments
Over the last 2 years, the Wandle Trust has been intensifying efforts to tackle the considerable problem of pollution in the river. Often contamination can be tackled by our partners in the Environment Agency, tracking down pollution to the source. However, this does not work for all sources of contamination.
For example, contaminants such as particles from car exhaust, the loss of engine oil and other contaminants from the roads can all be washed into the river from no one “point” source. This is known as diffuse pollution.
To illustrate this, there are about 2.5 million cars in London, and 16% of them leak oil. It has been calculated that this would equate to 261,635 gallons of oils dripping onto roads every year! Much of this oil will work its way into London’s surface water drains and then the rivers.
Although changes to the law and car technology may help one day in the future, we need to start acting now. It has been the Wandle Trust’s mission to find out how the contaminated waters from the surface water drains can be cleaned up before entering our river. This is vitally important because water quality is a major determinant of what wildlife can live in the rivers, how beautiful the rivers are, and how much the community value their local water landscapes.
In the current phase of our Pollution Busting Project, four measures are being installed and trialled to determine their effectiveness in reducing the contamination coming into the River Wandle. These measures are the most promising selected from several which were investigated by the Trust and they are called:
- Downstream Defenders
- Smart Sponges
There will be more information about these appearing on our websites in the coming months. We look forward to telling you more about this exciting new phase of our work!
December 6, 2014 No Comments
Many thanks to local photographer, Barry Howard , who has given us permission to share these amazing photographs of kingfishers on the River Wandle at Beddington Park.
Kingfishers are becoming an increasingly frequent sight on the River Wandle.
If you see a flash of bright blue travelling down the Wandle at high speed, then it is likely you’ve just spotted a kingfisher yourself.
If you are lucky, you may see one or more perched on a low hanging branch above the river.
A big thank you to Barry Howard for these brilliant photographs!
December 2, 2014 No Comments
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost two years since the Wandle Trust teamed up with the Environment Agency to clean up pollution on the River Wandle.
Our Pollution Monitoring Scheme has trained 50 local volunteers to attend and assess Category Three pollution incidents and report back valuable information to us and the Environment Agency.
Another great element to this scheme was regularly monitoring specific outfalls along the Wandle that have been a problem in the past. Volunteers adopted an outfall close to them and checked the site once a week for signs of pollution. This information was fed back to the Environment Agency allowing them to prioritise and investigate key issues.
The pilot scheme has been a huge success demonstrating the value of volunteers in monitoring pollution in an urban environment. Its innovative and collaborative approach earned the scheme the Rivers Trust Award for Science and Innovation in 2013 – a huge achievement for all those involved!
To celebrate this award and the success of the scheme, we invited our dedicated volunteers to Strawberry Lodge in Carshalton for some evening tea, coffee and cake.
The Environment Agency are very grateful to all the volunteers involved and have put together a short piece to summarise what was achieved thanks to their hard work. Click this link to download: Environment-Agency.pdf (138kb).
The scheme is also being rolled out on the Hogsmill and Beverley Brook. If you’re interested in becoming involved, please email us at email@example.com.
November 22, 2014 No Comments
The one with the trug ramp
This November we were on Plough Lane in Merton for our cleanup and despite a week of persistent rain, we were blessed with blue skies for the day of our event. Lucky us!
Forty two volunteers came out on Sunday morning to join us. Before our usual Health & Safety briefing, we all gathered to commemorate Remembrance Sunday with a two minute silence at 11 am.
This month’s cleanup was funded through the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership as part of our River Guardians Project. River Guardians is all about pollution and how everyone can take small steps to help reduce pollution reaching the Wandle.
For November we focused on fly-tipping: who is responsible and who can we report it to. After our brief talk, we then moved onto the actual problem itself – rubbish in our river…
I was lucky enough to have some extra help supervising everyone this month with the well-trained Basher as my assistant.
Under our supervision, everyone divided into two teams: waders and litter pickers. Our litter pickers marched off up and down the banks of the Wandle and quickly discovered a prime example of fly-tipping upstream of our site which was cleared thanks to a dedicated effort of students from American International University in London.
While our litter pickers were busy searching for fly tipping, our wading team were pulling out trug after trug of bottles, cans, wood and all sorts from the Wandle. We quickly found a bra, which I couldn’t help but model after last month’s inflatable bra, and a plastic frog which did not turn into a prince following a kiss – can’t say I wasn’t disappointed….
About half way through the morning, our wading team pulled out a long piece of wood from the Wandle and our creative volunteers had an idea. This plank was used as a trug ramp – allowing us to easily pull full trugs up the banks to the wheelbarrows for unloading. We kept this loyal piece of wood till the end of the cleanup when we had to say goodbye and leave it on the enormous rubbish pile to await collection from Merton Council.
After a morning of heavy lifting and pulling, we were ready for our tea break. Sally had kindly made a delicious ginger cake traybake for our volunteers which went down a treat.
After lunch we got back straight back into it. Afternoon highlights included the signature Wandle Trust coconut modeled by Gideon….
….a toy helicopter…
and a visit from Erica to see how we were all getting on!
So what did we find? 1 trolley, 1 satellite dish, 1 fake frog, 1 lawn mower, 1 car battery, 1 beheaded doll, 1 dolls head (not the same toy), 1 coconut, 1 toy helicopter, 1 toy steering wheel, 2 black bins, 2 bras, 2 traffic signs, 3 traffic cones, 4 tyres, 6 knitted jumpers, 20 bits of plastic piping, over 40 bags of rubbish, rolls and rolls of carpet and endless pieces of wood!
Huge thanks to: Gideon who helped me load and unload the van (and our star volunteers who helped us carry all the equipment back to the van at the end of the event); a special thanks to Andy who coordinated packing the van so we could take back a useful trolley we found, Sally for catering for 42 volunteers; Theo, Gideon, Andy and John for helping supervise the day (and Basher of course), and to the Waste Management Team at Merton Council for organising collection of all the rubbish the following day.
Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Abi, Ali, Andi, Brianna, Brooke, Casey, Charles, David, Derek, Erica, Gearoid, Gideon, Gigi, Hannah, Hardy, Helen, Jamie, Jayem, Jeffrey, John L, John N, Ken, Lindsay, Louise, Lynn, Max, Meg, Molly, Neil A, Neil P, Nicoco, Per, Rob, Rose, Sally P, Sally Ann, Sashha, Theo, Toby, Wally and Wayne.
So what did I learn from my second cleanup? Grapples are a lot of fun.
November 22, 2014 No Comments
Our restoration projects along the Wandle are all progressing well, and it is time to introduce the next site on our list: the Ravensbury Park Back Channel.
The Ravensbury Park Back Channel is a remnant of the industrial milling era along the Wandle. Back channels, or “by-pass channels” were used as a mechanism to control the water passing through a mill allowing us to increase or decrease the flow depending on how much power was required. Although no longer used for this purpose, the back channel at Ravensbury Park has become part of the park’s landscape and could offer a valuable refuge for wildlife in the Wandle; in particular fish which could use the channel to by-pass the weir.
So what’s the problem?
Like so many urban and rural rivers, the Ravensbury Park back channel has been engineered and modified to contain the river within a predetermined channel. This removes habitat and creates a stream with little variation.
- Un-natural banks
To protect the surrounding landscape from flooding, the natural sloping banks of this stream have been replaced with concrete and wood. This creates a ‘hard-edged’ bank and prevents important natural communities of marginal and aquatic plants from establishing here. A more gradually sloping vegetated bank provides habitat for many different species of riverine wildlife. Without this habitat there is a significant loss of biodiversity.
- Little light
The Ravensbury Park back channel suffers from low light levels due to a dense tree canopy. This canopy limits the growth of aquatic plants both around the stream as well as within the stream.
Each of these issues on their own have negative consequences, but combined they significantly impact on the ecological structure and function of this little stream.
What can we do?
Over the next few months, the Wandle Trust will be taking steps to restore the Ravensbury Park back channel. This work is being funded by Defra’s Catchment Restoration Fund, and is also part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Living Wandle Landscape Partnership.
The main aim of the restoration works will be to create new habitats both in the stream and along the margins that will support fish, invertebrates and birds. More importantly, our works will provide a favourable environment for both aquatic and marginal plants which are a fundamental source of food and shelter for some organisms; vital for a thriving ecosystem.
We will be working further on our plans for this stream so keep your eyes peeled for new updates.
October 29, 2014 No Comments
The one without the gas – almost!
This October I ran my first Wandle Trust cleanup – without Erica! Despite her efforts to prepare me, I still managed to forget a few key pieces of equipment – including the gas for the boiler. Luckily, we were close to our garage in Battersea so I nipped back, rescued the gas and got the cleanup started after our usual Health & Safety briefing.
So where were we this month? For October we found ourselves in the Borough of Wandsworth, working on the Wandle as it ran along the back of King George’s Park in Earlsfield. We were delighted to welcome Colin and Adele Brown of local estate agents, Seymour Green, who were kindly supporting this event.
We divided into two teams – waders and litter pickers. Our waders all got kitted out and hopped in the river, working upstream along a 150m stretch of the Wandle. Very early on we got our first “intriguing” find – an inflatable bra!
This month we were joined by 20 students from the American International University in London, some of which were brave enough to give wading a go. Their bravery was soon rewarded as our wading team hauled their first trolley out from the Wandle’s depths.
Our litter picking team had to battle through a forest of brambles, nettles and branches to get to the countless cans, bottles and crisp packets discarded on the banks of the Wandle. Thanks to their dedicated efforts, we cleared the bank downstream of our waders as well. The park has never looked cleaner!
After a morning of hard work, we were grateful to stop for a cup of tea and piece of cake, kindly supplied by Sally and Jana. We had a chocolate tray bake and some delicious apple and blackberry cupcakes.
After lunch, our wading team thought they had hit the jackpot when an extremely heavy sealed suitcase was hauled out of the river. Discussions of pirate gold were thrown around (namely by myself) so we got a knife and opened our new find up only to find wood, not gold. We were only momentarily disappointed as we discovered an eel swimming inside the suitcase which we returned safely to the river, despite its protests!
We also had some younger new arrivals join us after lunch who got stuck in straight away, helping haul the rubbish up from the river to the rubbish pile. There was great excitement as we pulled out another trolley from the Wandle and an entire car seat!
Terry arrived early for us, so we could load the rubbish straight onto the lorry. Our volunteers pushed wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of rubbish back through the undergrowth of the Wandle banks. Some were even lucky enough to have a ride on the lorry’s lift system!
So what did we find? 1 paddling pool, 1 suitcase, 1 umbrella, 1 car seat, 1 car dashboard, 1 phone, 1 broken credit card, 1 sofa lining, 2 bar stools, 2 coconuts, 2 buckets (one of which we kept), 3 massive pieces of carpet, 3 trolleys, countless pieces of metal and rubber piping, lots of wood, 9 tyres and countless sacks of cans, bottles and other trash. Terry reckons 2.5 tonnes!
Eel Tally: 3
Huge thanks to: Michael and Gideon who helped me load and unload the van (and our star volunteers who helped us carry all the equipment back to the van); Sally & Jana for catering for 67 volunteers; Theo, Michael, Gideon and John for helping supervise the day and to Joanna and Michael of Wandsworth Waste Management Team for organising collection of all the rubbish and to Terry who turned up with the lorry on the day.
Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: Aalziel, Adele, Ahmed, Alex, Amber, Amelie, Anna, Barry, Ben, Carol, Chaauki, Charles, Chris. Christel, Colin, Daniel, Eduardo, Elijah, Elliot, Evie, Gabrielle, Gearoid, Gideon, Indigo, Invanela, Jan, Jane, Jason, Jennifer, Jenny, Jeremy, John B, John N, Julian, Juliet, Katia, Kyleeta, Leigh, Leonie, Madison, Mark, Martin, Michael H, Mike H, Nichole, Novu, Patrick, Per, Rebecca, Rob, Rose, Russel, Sally, Sana, Sarah, Sasha, Sharon, Simon, Steve, Tadge, Teni, Theo, Tim, Tristan, Viu and Wally.
So what did I learn from my first cleanup? Well, I don’t think I will ever forget the gas or crow bars again! But more importantly, people along the Wandle have expensive tastes – champagne anyone?
October 20, 2014 No Comments
The one with the long, long, long walk
This month’s cleanup saw us at Ravensbury Park in Merton working alongside the Friends of Ravensbury Park, students from the Challenge Network and students from the American International University in London. In total, we had a record 84 volunteers litter picking, wading and wheel-barrowing!
To open our cleanup, Luke (one of our new members of staff) introduced everyone to the planned river restoration work at Ravensbury Park which is part of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership, funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The plans include narrowing the channel from 20 to 10 metres across and returning the river to its natural meander form to enhance / increase habitat and encourage biodiversity. To show our volunteers the “vision”, Luke brought two artistic interpretations of how the park would look following the restoration (pictured below).
After the talk, everyone got stuck in and started cleaning the park. We had one team in waders in the river pulling out all sorts – including a World War II tin helmet! Working with such determination, our river Wombles cleared rubbish from a huge stretch of the Wandle, carefully searching every nook and cranny!
We had another team patrolling the park with litter pickers and one final team tackling the notorious floating pennywort in the lake within Ravensbury Park. Floating pennywort is an aquatic invasive plant capable of smothering a water body if left unmanaged. The plant forms huge dense rafts which block out sunlight from the water below, preventing plants and other wildlife from thriving. Pennywort is famously difficult to manage, and despite having cleared all the pennywort from this area last year, the aquatic menace was back with a vengeance this year!
Volunteers quickly got stuck in, pushing rafts of pennywort across the lake to be chopped up and removed. Our volunteers entered the lake with clean clothes and clean faces but quickly emerged like mud-monsters from the deep. The hand washing basin had to be changed 15 times during the day!
With so many volunteers, for the first time the cake had to be rationed! This month we had a delicious (and very popular) lemon drizzle, a gingerbread with mini gingerbread men and a chocolate toffee bake.
So what did we find?
We found 7 tyres, 3 traffic cones, 2 mattresses, 1 lawn mower engine, part of a motorbike, 1 bicycle, 1 air conditioning unit, 1 WWII tin helmet, 1 wheelie bin, 3 children’s bikes, 3 scooters, 4 footballs, 1 coat and over 25 sacks full of drinking cans, bottles and other rubbish!
Scrapheap challenge anyone?
Huge thanks to: Michael who helped us load and unload the van; Sally, Ann and Carol for catering for 84 volunteers and Tony and Stan and the Merton Waste Management Team for organising the removal of the rubbish.
Thank you to all our volunteers for coming: A Belloni, Abigail, Aditya, Aheesan, Aimee, Akelya, Alex, Andrea, Annabel, Anne, Anthony, Bella, Bill, Camille, Carol, Charles, Chelsea, Conner, David H, David Ho, Dennis, Dhuvarahan, Diana, Dyana, Eleaia, Gideon, Gillian, Hannah, Helen, Henry, Holly, Ivan, Jackie C, Jackie F, Jagada, Jamie, Jane, Jez, Joe F, Joe P, John B, John D, John N, Jon, Karlon, Kaylin, Keith, Konsydntin, Lyn, Madison, Margaret, Mark, Maryam, Maurice, Megan L, Megan R, Michael, Mike, Nav, Nicole, Patrica, Per, Peter, Rob, Robert, Rose, Roseanne, Saffron, Sally, Sara, Selin, Shakera, Simon, Sofia, Stephen, Tadge, Tasmin, Theo, Victoria and Wayne.
Until next month!
September 22, 2014 No Comments