Monthly Archives: November 2014

Friends of the Carrs

The Carrs Riverside

The Friends of the Carrs are a very busy and active group, caring for the River Bollin and Parkland in Wilmslow that provides a haven for peace and recreation in the heart of the town.

The Friends of the Carrs have recently produced their Autumn newsletter, which gives updates on things that have happened on the Carrs in previous months, and events and activities that the group have planned for the future.  To read this newsletter you can download it here: Carrs newsletter Autumn 2014.

As the Friends of the Carrs manage a long stretch of the River Bollin, they also have to control invasive species and as such are active members of BEACON, and hold community balsam bashes every year.  

For more information about the Friends of the Carrs and how to join this group, please visit their website here. Or follow them on Twitter here

Invasive Species Alert – Quagga Mussels

s300_Wraysbury_Quagga_Mussels_-_David_Aldridge

(c) David Aldridge

Quagga Mussels (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis), have recently been discovered in the River Wraysbury, near Heathrow Airport.  The mussels were found by Environment Agency Staff conducting routine water quality tests on the river, and the mussels were positively identified on 1st October 2014. 

These Mussels were soon famous, making headlines in the newspapers, mentioned on the radio and websites and twitter as well.  But why the fuss?  What sort of a threat can these tiny little mussels pose?

The Quagga Mussel is generally the size of a thumbnail, but can grow to be up to 4cm long.  The mussels are prolific breeders and a fully mature female mussel is capable of producing up to one million eggs per year. The mussels can filter out large quantities of nutrients and in order to breed quickly, so they can significantly reduce native populations and affect freshwater ecosystems. The Quagga Mussel can outcompete native mussels. This alters the ecology of the habitats it invades. It can also block water pipes and smother boats’ hulls. 

WWT London Wetland Centre

(c) Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust -London The London Wetlands Centre, downstream of Wraysbury, could be devastated if the quagga mussels spread to this reserve.

 

So, how do we stop the Quagga Mussel spreading?  The answer is simple, Check, Clean Dry.

Everyone, but particularly, anglers and boaters can play an important part in stopping the spread, and everyone is urged to follow the ‘check, clean, dry’ approach and thoroughly clean any equipment used in water sports or recreation in hot water. 

CHECK your equipment and clothing for living organisms. Pay particular attention to areas that are damp or hard to inspect.

CLEAN and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly. If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them.

DRY Dry all equipment and clothing – some species can live for many days in moist conditions. Make sure you don’t transfer water elsewhere.

Be Plant Wise Logo

For more information on the Check clean dry campaign please follow the link here.

For more information, or if you think you have found a Quagga Mussel and need to report it, please visit this webpage.

Volunteer Surveyors Workshop – 31st October 2014

BEACON and APEM RDWP Training

(c) Derek Hatton

A Volunteer Surveyors Workshop was held at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, co-hosted by APEM and BEACON, on 31st October 2014.

There were indoor presentations given, and outdoor practical field visits and demonstrations held along the River Bollin at Styal and the Carrs.

There were 17 attendees on the day, with people from all backgrounds, with differing levels of knowledge attending.  There was also a great range of ages and interests too.

The purpose of the day was to train volunteers to conduct surveys for diffuse water pollution in rural areas.  BEACON has been fortunate enough to gain funding through the United Utilities Catchment Wise Fund to be able to conduct these surveys along Birkin, Rostherne, Sugar and Mobberley Brooks to determine where there are pollution problems.  BEACON also aims to raise awareness of these problems with farmers and landowners, in order to change attitudes and behaviours to improve the health of the brooks and connecting river.

RDWP Survey Training - 31-10-14

(c) Derek Hatton

All the volunteers that attended the workshop enjoyed the day.  The morning was spent indoors with Peter Dennis of APEM going over what diffuse pollution is, the problems it causes, what to look for and how to record this.

After a quick lunch, the afternoon was spent outside walking along the River Bollin at Styal and on into the Carrs at Wilmslow.  The volunteers practised looking for signs to show where there were problems, such as pipes, discouloured water and erosion of the riverbank.  They also practised recording thier findings and photgraphing these.

RDWP Survey Training - 31-10-14

(c) Derek Hatton

Diffuse pollution is the release of pollutants from a range of activities that individually may have no effect on the water environment, but at the scale of a catchment, such as the Bollin, can have a significant impact  on the water environment.  It can result in a reduction of water quality, a decrease in wildlife, riverbank erosion and so on.

Diffuse sources of pollution include run-off of chemicals, soil, tarmac from roads, houses and commercial areas.  BEACON is mainly surveying for diffuse pollution in rural areas so we will be looking at run-off from farmland, and land use activities such as livestock grazing, cultivation of land to grow crops and forestry operations.

All the volunteers really enjoyed the day and are looking forward to getting out onto the catchment and surveying.

RDWP Survey Training  - 31-11-14

(c) Derek Hatton

Case Study for Collaborative Working

Bankhall Lane Giant HogweedThis year has been a great year for BEACON, but not such a great year for Giant Hogweed!

As Giant Hogweed can be so dangerous to people, causing rashes and burns when it comes into contact with skin, BEACON decided to prioritise this species as one they would tackle first.  You can find out more about Giant Hogweed here.  It is also easier to prioritise areas for control work as Giant Hogweed doesn’t occur throughout the whole Bollin, catchment, the first record of hogweed is near Manchester Airport, and the infestation gets increasingly worse as your head downstream.

 

BEACON Volunteer Giant HogweedThe first area to be tackled on a grand scale was Bankhall Lane in Hale as this was the first area where the Giant Hogweed started to get very dense.  Even to be able to treat a relativley short stretch of the river Bollin took a lot of co-ordination and discussion with landowners and private companies such as United Utilities and Network Rail.  The map below shows you who treated which areas of the river Bollin.  BEACON was able to contribute towards funding contractors to undertake work where the hogweed was very dense or inaccessible.  Farmers and landowners treated Giant Hogweed that was in their fields and ditches.

Bankhall Lane Control Work Maps

The results of this work have been amazing!  In just one season the density of the Giant Hogweed at Bankhall Lane has been dramatically reduced thanks to landowners, contractors and private companies working together and treating the right species at the right time.  The photos below show the before and after effects of the work.

 

Giant Hogweed in Field Margins - Sept 2013

Giant Hogweed in Field Margins – Sept 2013

No Giant Hogweed at Sewage Works - Sept 2014

No Giant Hogweed at Sewage Works – Sept 2014

This is the pipe line from the sewage works to the river before work started in September 2013, and after work has been completed in September 2014.  This work was undertaken by United Utilities and their contractors.

 

No Giant Hogweed in Field Margins - Sept 2014

No Giant Hogweed in Field Margins – Sept 2014

Giant Hogweed in Field Margins - Sept 2013

Giant Hogweed in Field Margins – Sept 2013

These are the field margins adjacent to the River Bollin at Bankhall Lane.  The landowner and contractors have undertaken work here to bring the Giant Hogweed under control.  The difference between the two pictures is fantastic!

Thank you to everyone who worked really hard to control the Giant Hogweed here, and we look forward to working together again next year to finish off this invasive nasty once and for all!