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.
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.
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.