Tag Archives: INNS

Wandle cleanup: September 2015: Ravensbury Park

The one with very muddy volunteers…

September saw our final Capital Cleanup event in Ravensbury Park kindly funded by the Mayor of London’s Capital Cleanup fund and the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership.

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As traditional for our September cleanup, we were joined by Friends of Ravensbury Park who had their eyes set on clearing the infamous floating pennywort from the lake. They really had a big task ahead of them!

Luckily we were also joined by a keen team from ZipCar (our van suppliers) who under the supervision of the Friends of Ravensbury Park, headed straight to the lake to battle the aquatic menace.

Zipcar

The rest of our cleanup team headed to the river to clear rubbish throughout the park. Quickly discovering plenty of rubbish lurking in the depths including this Frozen football – perhaps I’ll save it for a Christmas present for my little cousin, after cleaning it of course!

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Meanwhile, the ZipCar team were finally learning what we get up to when we book their van once a month. Muddy, muddy work. Without much persuasion, several members hopped in the lake and got stuck in, sawing and towing pennywort to the jetty while the others dragged the plant out and ferried it to the impressive dumping pile.

Floating pennywort

Pennywort Pulling

Lunch came around giving everyone a welcome break from the hard work of the morning. But with so much pennywort, the break couldn’t last forever….

More pennywort

The wading team were making great progress and headed down the back channel to check for rubbish.

Waders

In the afternoon, my favourite find was discovered – an inflatable microphone which got me in the singing mood. Luckily, no one was around to record my rendition of Taylor Swift.

X Factor

Thank you to all the volunteers who came along to our event!

So what did we find?  1 Frozen football, 1 Mickey Mouse ball, 1 other generic ball, 1 fire extinguisher, 1 rope wheel, 1 bike wheel, 1 set of trolley wheels, 1 dustbin lid, 1 net, 1 inflatable microphone, 1 giant iron bar, 2 car seats, 2 scooters, 3 buckets, 14 tyres, 30 bags of other junk along with barrows and barrows and barrows and barrows of floating pennywort. Seriously… there was a lot!

Pennywort Pile

Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up van after the event and John for supervising the Event Tent; Wally, Theo & Dave for helping supervise everyone on the day, Friends of Ravensbury Park for leading the floating pennywort team, ZipCar for waiving the van’s fee for 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, Abi, Agnes, Alex, Alison, Andrew, Ann W, Barry, Ben, Camille, Charles, Charlotte, Chris S, Dave J, Dave W, Derek, Dimal, Flora, Fred, Fumbi, Gina, Ian, Ida, Isabelle, Jan, Joe, Johamm, John L, John N, Keith, Khin H, Khin T, Laura H, Louise, Marta, Michael R, Michael S, Naomi, Niki, Paul, Renah, Richard, Richard B, Rose, Sabiha, Sally, Sanya, Sarah A, Sheree, Sophie C, Sophie O, Stewart, Sue, Theo, Tim, Victor, Victoria, Wally, Wayne and Will.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?   White uniforms will always become brown when handling floating pennywort.

Rubbish Pile

Wandle Cleanup: August 2015: Sutton

The one where we cooked in our waders…..

This August was the first of our Capital Cleanups, kindly funded by the Mayor of London Capital Cleanup fund, held in Beddington Park on a very, very sunny and hot day. Not ideal weather for waders or wellies.

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Rose was kind enough to help me load the van for this event, and I was thankful to have her with me as I turned up to site to find a car boot sale blocking the road. Luckily we squeezed the van through and set up in our usual spot ready for everyone to arrive.

This month we divided into three teams: the wading team; their wader support and balsam bashers. Theo had found several patches of Himalayan balsam in the park which he was keen to get on top of.

Within 20 minutes of sending the waders off to the river, they returned with two trolleys – not what I was expecting from a seemingly clear stretch of the Wandle! We were wondering if Asda would be wanting these back…

Trolleys

Soon more and more rubbish was coming out: tyres, pitch fork, metal fencing, large pieces of wood. For a narrow stretch of the river, it didn’t disappoint.

Rubbish pile building..

Behind the wading team, Theo and a couple of others were checking for individual Himalayan plants on the river bank to ensure we swept the whole park clean.

Balsam Hunting

While this was going on, a brave team tackled a large infestation further into the park where the balsam was the height of trees and the stems were the thickest we’d ever seen them. A true balsam jungle amongst the nettles.

Balsam Bashers

Wheel Barrow RelaxationBy lunchtime we were all very hot and ready for a cool drink. Jackie had kindly made us some jam tarts and I had baked three chocolate cakes which I then packaged to look like they had in fact been purchased… it’s the small touches.

After lunch we reluctantly put our waders and wellies back on and got back in the river. The wading team had cleared the river before lunchtime so after lunch we all focused on the balsam.

With the bulk of it removed, we were looking for smaller plants in the undergrowth which we wanted to catch before they set seed for another year. It took a little while to get our eyes honed in, but sure enough there were plenty hiding in the nettle jungle.

Hunting

With Beddington Park cleared of balsam (for this year anyway) and rubbish we decided to finish a bit early to cool off.

Thank you to all the volunteers who came along and tolerated the heat for our event!

Finished Pile

So what did we find?  1 pitch fork, 1 paint tub, 1 watercolour set, 1 scooter seat, 1 wooden chair, 1 hamster cage, 1 tyre, 2 buckets, 2 Asda trolleys, 3 set of tea china, 4 coconuts, 8 large pieces of wood, steel roofing, plenty of metal fencing, 25 bags of other junk and barrows and barrows of Himalayan balsam.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped pack up van after the event and Rose for helping me load and unload; Jackie for catering for our volunteers; Rose for supervising the Event Tent; Chris, Wally, Theo & Dave for helping supervise everyone on the day 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: Charles, Chris, Daniel, Dave, David, Denis, Derek, Fred, George, Gillian, Graham, Helen, Hugo, Ian, James, Jamie, Joe, John, Karoline, Keith, Ken, Lisa, Lois, Louise, Mark, Mike, Neil, Per, Phil, Richard, Rob, Ruth, Sally Ann, Theo, Tom K, Victor and Wally.

So what did I learn from this month’s cleanup?   Sunshine and chest waders are not a great mix.

Barrow of Balsam

All photos kindly taken by Sally Ann Symis

The Battle of Watermeads

The Battle of Watermeads was fought between the Wandle Trust and two invasive plants which had been successfully invading the River Wandle for many years: Himalayan balsam and floating pennywort.

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General Alan MartinHistorians have pinpointed the start of this epic, ongoing war of attrition against the Wandle’s invasive non-native species as far back as June 2010 or earlier, and our latest campaign has certainly started with the recruitment of General Alan Martin.

Alan joined the Wandle Trust movement in April 2015 to help coordinate a river wide action plan against plants and other invaders, and Himalayan balsam and floating pennywort have quickly become two of his most formidable opponents.

On Friday 31st July, two armies faced each other in Watermeads Nature Reserve. The Wandle Trust General, Alan Martin, had recruited 29 dedicated and loyal volunteers to his cause. Together they faced a terrifying scene and were horrendously outnumbered by the ranks of balsam and pennywort established throughout the reserve. But this did not deter them.

The strategy: Divide and Conquer

The battle started at 11am. General Alan divided his ranks into two regiments, each to face one of the enemies alone. General Alan took charge of the floating pennywort regiment and took to the high seas of the Watermeads back water. Captain Joe bravely guided the vessel behind enemy lines to cut free rafts of pennywort, while the rest of the regiment waited on shore to haul in the catch with grapples and rakes.

Captain Joe and his Crew

Raking and Grappling

Meanwhile on the western front, the Himalayan balsam regiment was beginning their attack. Alan had appointed Lieutenant Polly to lead the balsam front and with her ranks in tow they marched into the undergrowth. To begin with, they found small patches of the plant and made quick progress pulling these up and piling to compost. However as they ventured further into the reserve they came face to face with an overwhelmingly large forest. Numbers which far exceeded their own…

Two loyal soildiers

Balsam No Man's Land

As the battle raged on, General Alan’s faithful sidekick, Pepper, kept watch on the troops and raised morale.

At 4pm, both armies called a truce and re-grouped ready to fight another day. The Wandle Trust Army had come out on top with no casualties save for a few nettle stings. For the invasive plants, it was a tough defeat. Pennywort and balsam casualties were everywhere.

Pennywort Pile

Top Soildier

All that was left was for the Wandle Trust Army to clean up and make sure they weren’t spreading the enemy further by their equipment. The answer? Power hose. A prospect all too exciting for Pepper.

Biosecurity

Join us for the Battle for Watermeads II on Friday 21st August, 11am. Campaign plans can be found here.

Your River Needs You!

This battle has been key to General Alan’s plan for the whole river – a campaign to eradicate invasive non-native species from the river to allow the return of native flora and fauna. A campaign which is part of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership.

You can join General Alan’s crusade and sign up as a River Ranger to hunt down and monitor other invasive plants along the river.

This event was supported by the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Funded through the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership.

Your River Needs You!

River Rangers

Will you join our River Rangers Team and help hunt down invasive non-native species on the Wandle?

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join our River Rangers team and help us monitor invasive species on the River Wandle from its source to the Thames.

Our team of trained recorders will survey the entire length of the Wandle three times a year, building up a picture of where the invasive species are and how well our management efforts are working in controlling them.

Training for the team will take place this August on the 19th or 20th – date and venue to be confirmed soon.

What will be covered?

  • What makes a biological record?
  • Invasive plant identification in all seasons
  • Invasive plant ecology and biology
  • Biosecurity
  • Uploading your data

What will be involved?

Following training, our River Rangers will be unleashed on the Wande three times a year to map invasive species through the different growing seasons. Data will be uploaded online to LISI – London Invasive Species Initiative.

The first River Ranger day will be Sunday 27th September 2015.

This project will form a valuable baseline monitoring system for our efforts in the eradication of these invasive species. Next year, a Hit Squad will be trained up in the management of INNS and will work alongside our River Rangers to manage and control the species they record.

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This project is supported by the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership.

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Recruiting: Invasive Non-Native Species Officer

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.

Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed can shade out natural flora

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.

This post is now closed.

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New book: The Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing

Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing

We are very excited to announce the recent publication of a new book by our Chairman of Trustees, Theo Pike, entitled ‘The Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing – and how to tackle other Invasive Non-Native Species’.

This ground-breaking 96-page handbook includes more than 40 invasive non-native species (INNS) such as Himalayan balsam, giant hogweed, Chinese mitten crabs, signal crayfish and mink, with practical advice on how individuals and community groups like ours can take action against them or stop them spreading further.

Even reporting a sighting of oak processionary moths or Asian longhorn beetles can make a big difference to protecting our natural biodiversity, and there is also a section on biosecurity measures like Defra’s Check-Clean-Dry advice.

Best of all, since this book was partly inspired by the work of the Wandle Trust and our wonderful volunteers, you may even recognise yourself in one of the photos.

Copies of the ‘Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing’ are available direct from the publishers, Merlin Unwin Books, or you can buy a signed copy from Theo at one of our community balsam bashing and river cleanup events!

You are invited to the Launch of the Living Wandle project on World Rivers Day!

In June we reported the news that the River Wandle had won the lottery! This triumph was a £2 million award from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Landscape Partnership Scheme involving 25 projects to be delivered by a whole host of organisations on the Wandle.

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The project is going to be ‘launched’ on World Rivers Day – Sunday 29th September 2013 – at Morden Hall Park. All the organisations involved will be there to tell you about the exciting projects that are coming up over the next 4 years.

The Wandle Trust will be leading on 4 projects – A river education programme for schools, a pollution awareness project called ‘River Guardians’, some physical river restoration work which will build on the enhancements already being delivered and a project called ‘Discover the Source of the Wandle’ through which we’ll investigate local features and landscape as well as archived records to look for signs of where the Wandle starts flowing.

Further details on the event, including the event booklet, can be found here.

So come and join us at Morden Hall Park on World Rivers Day and hear about these and other projects (including an invasive species programme, oral history and community theatre projects and the opening up of Merton Priory’s Chapter House). The Wandle Piscators will also be at Merton Abbey Mills that day with a range of activities so why not take a Sunday stroll along the Wandle between Morden Hall Park and Merton Abbey Mills and join thousands of others around the world appreciating their local river on World Rivers Day!

Extra Balsam Bash: August 2013: Sutton

One of the Wandle Trust’s big river restoration projects, funded by DEFRA’s Catchment Restoration Fund, started recently at Hackbridge.  However, physical improvements couldn’t begin until the Himalayan balsam was brought under control.

So we decided to run an extra balsam bashing event and, on a sunny but thankfully much cooler day, 31 volunteers turned up at Culvers Avenue to help.

Before we got started, a local resident from Buckhurst Avenue stopped by and told us that he’d had his motorbike stolen the previous Thursday morning.  The police had called him with good news and bad news:  the good news was that they’d found his motorbike, the bad news was that it was in the Wandle at Shepley Mill!  The police also told him that we were in the vicinity on Sunday, and suggested he came and asked whether some of our chaps could help him.  We put our visitor into some waders and despatched him along with ropes, grapples and some of our big, strong boys to Restmor Way.  Needless to say he was very impressed when, in a matter of minutes, they had secured the bike and hauled it out of the water!  It’s the first time in cleanup history that we have reunited a motorbike with its owner.

bike

Meanwhile other volunteers had walked up to Dale Park to start the balsam bashing.  As some of the plants had started to flower, to stop any seeds potentially dispersing we decided that we would cut the flowers off and bag them separately, after which pulled up stems could be safely left on the banks to compost down.  The patch in Dale Park was cleared very quickly, so we walked back to Gazebo HQ and, as it was quarter to one, we decided to have an early refreshment break.

Jo produced tea, coffee, squash, almond cake, coconut cookies and chocolate brownies into which we tucked with enthusiasm.

 

Eager to get on with the task after lunch, we waded across to the island, and with arms aloft to avoid the stingers we began to remove the balsam there.

Claire took a small group downstream of the confluence to tackle an isolated stand before both groups got together to wade upstream to tackle huge plants with giant roots.

Even though this was strictly a balsam bashing event, there was still lots of rubbish in the water, which our volunteers found very hard to leave, so whilst the majority of volunteers were on the island, the small group who’d helped with the motorbike got to grips with it, whilst Rose and Wally did some much needed litter picking on the banks.

We were joined for the last hour or so by local artist Hana Horack. Clad in waders and with a camcorder in one hand, she came to film some of us for her exhibition entitled ‘Imagine a life without water’ which takes place at the Honeywood Museum in September.

As we made our way upstream, chatting amicably, we noticed water crowfoot, starwort and water parsnip in the water, and daring little damselflies swooped and fluttered around us as we worked.

Before we left, we separated the rubbish from the bin bags full of flower heads, and set off for home satisfied that we had carried out an excellent day’s work.  Our thanks go to David and Bill from Sutton Council for the disposal of the rubbish and the balsam.

Thanks to our volunteers:  Ann, Bill, Carol, Claire, Charles, Chris, Daniel, Gavin, Gearóid, Gwen, Hana, Helen, Jez, Jo, John B, John B, John L, John N, Julian, Kath, Mark, Malika, Meryn, Mike, Neil, Nick, Philip, Rose, Thomas, Tim and Wally

Who removed:   1 push chair, 1 child’s scooter, 1 child’s bicycle, 1 vacuum cleaner, 1 road barrier, 1 wheelie bin, 1 flat screen television, 1 bicycle wheel, 1 television stand, 1 remote controlled toy car, 1 road sign, 1 satellite receiver, 1 recycling bin, 1 large tub of tile grout, 1 broom head, 1 child’s playhouse, 1 pair of edging shears, 1 vent cover, 1 roof rack, 1 house number, 2 registration plates, 4 pieces of plywood, 10 bags of rubbish, 12 bags of flower heads and several tonnes or so of Himalayan balsam left to compost on site.

This event was supported by DEFRA’s Catchment Restoration Fund

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Balsam Bashing: Hogsmill River: July 2013

The Wandle Trust has secured funding from Defra’s Catchment Restoration Fund for habitat improvements on our sister chalkstream, the Hogsmill, which rises in Ewell and enters the Thames in Kingston near the Rose Theatre.

Before any improvement works can take place, something needed to be done about the enormous amounts of Himalayan balsam growing on the banks.

So, on another sweltering Sunday, and with the blessing of Thames Water on whose site we would be carrying out the balsam removal, 20 of us were admitted through the gates of the sewage treatment works in Lower Marsh Lane.

Walking to the site

Our full report of this event has now been transferred over to our new South East Rivers Trust website.

Please click here to read it in full and start exploring our new site!

This event was supported by Thames Water

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Come and join in some Balsam Bashing this Sunday!

Sunday 4 August 2013: Culvers Avenue, Hackbridge SM5 2BE

Beddington Park July 2012 _13_

One of the Wandle Trust’s big river restoration projects starting this year will be at Hackbridge, thanks to generous funding from DEFRA’s Catchment Restoration Fund.  However, physical improvements to the river cannot commence until the Himalayan balsam is brought under control.   So, we will be running a Balsam Bashing day there on Sunday 4 August.

The event, which will take place between the usual 11am and 3pm, meeting just off Culvers Avenue, Hackbridge, L.B. Sutton, SM5 2BE.

For more information and location please click here