Tag Archives: environment agency

River Guardian Training Workshop

River Guardian Workshop

On Tuesday 16th January BEACON held a workshop to train new River Guardians as part of our Call of Nature Project.

This free workshop was held in Marthall Hall in Ollerton, and a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and organisations attended.

The morning session was spent indoors explaining why BEACON has River Guardians, and how they play a very important role in our Call of Nature Project.  As part of the Call of Nature Project, River Guardians will be taking water samples from points along Marthall and Pedley Brooks.  This will enable us to see whether the engagement work we have done around septic tanks has been successful.  We hope that by giving local householders information, resources and support, septic tanks will be better used and maintained, thus resulting in an improvement in water quality.

BEACON River Guardians

The afternoon was a little chilly and wet, but still spent outside the classroom practicing taking water samples, and recording the results found.  This more informal part of the training was a great chance for volunteers to mingle, and ask questions about the practicalities of these surveys.


BEACON River Guardians

The day was a great success with 11 new Guardians trained, which brings the total number of River Guardians to 42.  That’s 42 people working across the Bollin Catchment, testing various tributaries and rivers for pollution.  The volunteers enjoyed gaining an ‘insight into exactly why we are doing the job and the long term benefits to the environment.’ and also ‘doing the practical exercise to understand exactly what we have to do and how long it takes. The breaks were also useful to speak to other participants and browse the maps and the other materials available.’


Thank you to all our River Guardians who give up their time to take water samples and send in their results.  This information is invaluable and wonderful to have.

BEACON River GuardiansBEACON River Guardians








For more information on the Call of Nature Project run in the North West please visit their website here.

This project is being delivered through the Mersey Rivers Trust, and is funded by the Environment Agency.

You can find more information on River Guardians here.

Thunderclap Flood Awareness


Did youfloods-destroy know that 1 in 6 properties is at risk of flooding?

Would you know how to check if your property is at risk?

There are many people that wouldn’t know how to do this and so the Environment Agency have launched a national flood action campaign to raise awareness of flooding, the problems it can cause and how you can prepare if you are in a property at risk.

Last winter many homes were destroyed as storms Eva, Frank and Desmond bought record-breaking rain and devastation to families at Christmas.  Floods can damage homes, destroy possessions, displace families, and in the worst instances; floods can kill.  It is therefore important to know if your home is at risk of flooding.

To find out if your home is at risk of flooding or how to prepare for a flood event please visit:

You can sign up for flood alerts here, and also spread the word and potentially save a life.

For more information on the Thunderclap campaign please click here.



Partnership working bashes balsam!

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

Picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

As the saying goes, ‘many hands make light work’, and this is definitely the case for anything BEACON hopes to achieve in the Bollin Catchment.  By working in partnership with other organisations, landowners and local communities we can bring together those many hands to work towards one common aim; improving our water courses and local environment for everyone to enjoy.


On a 6th July the Environment Agency and Bollin Valley Partnership teamed up to carry out a huge balsam bash on land owned and managed by the National Trust at Styal.  There was a really good team of 20 volunteers from the Environment Agency, made up from a number of different departments.  The weather was kind to the team and it didn’t rain for the whole event, which always makes a difference to the mood!

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA







A large section of riverbank and southern woods was cleared of balsam, which complemented work done last year with a much smaller Environment Agency  team.  The National Trust were delighted with the work done as they have not had the resources to host large groups pulling balsam this year.  Huge thanks to Rachel Argyros, EA, and Emma Houghton, BVP for organising this balsam bash.

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA







Both the Bollin Valley Partnership and Environment Agency would like to run this event again next year, with even more volunteers so we can really get to grips with the balsam in this area. A great example of partnership working!


Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

Invasive Species Alert – Quagga Mussels


(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.