Tag Archives: farming

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

Farm Workshop – 1st October 2014

BEACON and Natural England Farm Workshop

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

Last week, BEACON and Natural England got together to host a Farm Workshop at Egerton Hall, Rostherne.  This workshop aimed to provide farmers with more information on the control of invasive non-native species, as well as water friendly farming and agri-environment schemes.  There were elements of indoor presentations and outdoor practical field visits and demonstrations held adjacent to Rostherne Mere.

Farm Workshop Rostherne

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

In the morning, the attendees went out to Rostherne Mere to look at practical demonstrations of how to control invasive species.  The group discussed how each control method works, and also non-chemical ways to control invasive non-native species.  Rupert, the Ranger at Rostherne Mere demonstrated their quad mounted spraying equipment, and Sally from BEACON showed the group how the stem injector works. 

Farm Workshop - Stem Injector

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

 

Farm Workshop - Quad mounted sprayer

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

Following lunch a short presentation was given to farmers on the effects of pollution on rivers and the different sources it can come from.  Everyone was very surprised about the polluting effects of milk!  There was lots of discussion and advice given on how to make sure your farm is working in a water friendly way.

There was another outdoor session in the afternoon to visit the areas of Rostherne Mere that aren’t publically accessible.  It was great to be able to go to places that are ordinarily closed, and Rupert gave a fantastic talk on what the issues are with managing the Mere and how he addresses these.  Himalayan balsam in the reed beds was a great cause for discussion.

Farm Workshop - Field Visit

In the feedback we got from the farmers they all enjoyed the day.  They found it useful to have different organisations there and see practical demonstrations given.  Everyone felt they had learned something they could apply to their work at home, which is a hugely positive outcome for BEACON, Natural England and most importantly the natural environment.