Tag Archives: water

Call of Nature Community Workshop

Call of Nature Community Workshop

Community Workshop

As our Call of Nature Project draws to a close, a Community Workshop was held on Monday 19th March at Marthall Hall to discuss the progress of the project in Marthall and Ollerton. It was unfortunate that the turnout was very small, but the evening was still very interesting and informative.

Sally Potts, Project Officer, who has delivered this project, gave a presentation about how the project had been carried out, and that by working in the local community and with local schools, over 150 local people have been engaged as part of this project. Most people are aware of how to look after their septic tanks, but there were commonly asked questions regarding what cleaning products can be used, and whether surface water can be connected to a septic tank.

BEACON River Guardians Marthall Brook  Call of Nature

River Guardian

River Guardians have been trained as part of this project in January, and are already testing water quality in Marthall and Pedley Brooks. This will hopefully show an improvement in the currently poor water quality here, as people take more care of their septic tanks and sewage treatment systems.

 

 

APEM Environmental Consultants also gave a short presentation at the workshop. They have carried out much more detailed water quality tests for the Call of Nature project.  Their results show that there is an issue with nitrate across brooks, which can be caused by leaking or faulty septic tanks, agricultural run-off from fields and erosion from river banks.  At certain points

apem Walkover-survey-1024x765

APEM Ecological Consultants

along the brooks there was found to be a very significant increase in the levels of bacteria in the water.  These bacteria are associated with sewage, and so must be further investigated to determine the source of these bacteria and work with the landowners or householders to rectify the problem.  Some of the sample points also showed that the issues with bacteria were chronic, so not just one off problems found at the time when the surveys were carried out, but problems where the bacteria have been introduced to the water over a number of months.

 

Attendees at the workshop found this all to be very interesting and sobering information, and had concerns about being located at the source of a major water system (Marthall and Pedley Brooks flow into Birkin Brook and then the River Bollin). The attendees believed that more needs to be done to stop septic tank pollution at the source, as it will be beneficial for wildlife along the whole of the waterbodies and those connected to Marthall and Pedley Brooks.

Call of Nature Marthall Map

Map of Marthall and Pedley Brooks

More work will be done to connect with more people through coffee mornings and the village garden party. A leaflet has also been produced that can be requested explaining the Call of Nature project in this area.

It important for wildlife that we all do the right thing when answering the Call of Nature.

For more information about the Call of Nature project please visit the website here, or contact us here.

Giant Hogweed better watch out!

Over the course of this past week and a half, we have seen 11 volunteers from various organisations and backgrounds undergo certified training to enable them to safely use herbicides near water.  The fantastic news is that they all passed the training, which brings us to 26 volunteers now trained and able to use herbicides near water to control invasive non-native plant species.

This greatly increases the capacity of the BEACON project as there is only one Project Officer employed as part of the project, so if an area is being monitored and treated by volunteers, the Project Officer can move on and work downstream elsewhere.  This has worked brilliantly over the past years, and we hope with 11 newly trained volunteers this way of working can continue.  NPTC Training BEACON EA

This season our efforts will be focused on controlling Giant Hogweed at Dunham, Lymm and Heatley where is has been allowed to grow unchecked for many years.  You can find out more about Giant Hogweed and the affects it has on people and wildlife here.

Thank you to the Environment Agency for funding this brilliant opportunity for our volunteers, for rangers at Macclesfield Riverside Park for giving up their Visitor Centre for over a week, and of course thanks must go to the volunteers for dedicating their time to do this course, and in the future to controlling invasive non-native species.

NPTC Training BEACON EA

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.

Restore, Rewild, Realise

Postcode Local TrustBEACON has been successfully awarded a £20,000 grant from the Postcode Local Trust to carry out a habitat restoration project called ‘Restore, Rewild, Realise’.

BEACON will use this grant to ‘Restore’ river banks using natural materials such as willow and hazel hurdles.  Habitats where invasive species have been controlled, but where local flora has been unable to re-establish successfully will be planted up with native wildflowers, plants and trees.  By doing this we will stem the re-growth of invasives and give the natives a competitive advantage, and is the ‘Rewild’ part of the project.  We hope that local volunteers and schools will be involved in restoring habitats and seeing wildlife thrive in restored areas.

Riverbank Restoration Avro Golf Club

The main event as part of this project will be a Bioblitz, held in the summer to educate local children and adults on species identification, habitats, control of invasive species.  By conducting simple nature surveys at this event, they will learn how to record and identify species, and ‘Realise’ the importance of local, native habitats.

This project will take place throughout the course of 2018, and as well as benefitting native   species and habitats, it will also benefit volunteers by providing them with conservation skills and knowledge they may not have previously had.  Schools will also benefit from environmental education workshops being run as part of this project.

The Carrs Ian and Sal black poplar planting

BEACON is extremely thankful to the Postcode Local Trust for awarding us this grant.  Sally Potts, BEACON Project Officer said, ‘BEACON has been financially unable to undertake substantive habitat restoration works, and this will enable us to further progress our work, and build on the success of previous years’.

For more information or to get involved in Restore, Rewild, Realise, please contact us here.

Environment Education Workshops BEACON

Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. www.postcodelocaltrust.org.uk

To find out how to play, and thus support more charities please visit http://www.postcodelottery.co.uk

 

River Guardian Training Workshop

 

BEACON River Guardian TrainingBEACON held a fantastic River Guardian workshop on 25th January at Marthall Hall.  There were over 30 volunteers who attended the day-long workshop, which was a mixture of indoor desktop training, and then outdoor practical learning.

The aim of the workshop was to train volunteers, who have come from all backgrounds and levels of experience, to be able to safely take  water samples from local watercourses, and test the samples there and then using simple test kits.  These kits test phosphate and nitrate levels, pH and temperature of the water.  Volunteers then record this information and send the results to BEACON where we can analyse this information and see where problem areas are.

The day was kicked off by Terry Dudley, of the Birkin Fly Fishers, who explained the work that has previously been done by the anglers, and also students from Manchester University who took and tested water samples from various points along Birkin and Mobberley Brooks.  There is therefore already a good deal of baseline data for us to work with.

BEACON River Guardian TrainingCaroline Riley, from Healthy Rivers Trust, then spoke to the group about the importance of water quality testing, what we use the information for and how to carry out the tests themselves.  Caroline gave a practical demonstration of the equipment and test kits, and also answered questions.  Anna Gilchrist of Manchester University was also on hand to answer any tricky questions the volunteers had!

After lunch the group walked from Marthall Hall to Pedley Brook where they were all able to practice carrying out the water tests and how to accurately record the information.  A quick kick-sample was also carried out and a stickleback was found in the bottom of the brook!  The tests carried out on the brook showed low levels of both phosphate and nitrate too.

BEACON River Guardian Training

 

 

 

BEACON River Guardian Training

On returning to the Hall volunteers were encouraged to ‘Adopt and Spot’, to take and test water samples from on a regular basis, and equipment and test kits were handed out.

The day was a huge success with positive feedback received from the attendees.  People from over ten different partner organisations attending the training, as well as individual interested volunteers.  The volunteers have now ‘adopted’ 25 spots along Mobberley, Birkin and Sugar Brooks as well as along the Rivers Dean and Bollin.

BEACON River Guardian Training

If you would like to find out more about the River Guardian project, or become a River Guardian yourself please contact us here.BEACON River Guardian Training

 

River Guardian Training Workshop

 

The Ruploading-resultsiver Guardian training session being held on Wednesday 25th January is now fully booked.

If you are still interested in attending River Guardian training, please contact us here and if there is enough uptake we will be running another date.  You can find information on what the training entails here.

Thanks everyone for your support!!   

Catchment Walkover Tool

Walkover Tool Training

On 26th November a training session was held as part of BEACON’s Catchment Wise Diffuse Water Pollution Project.  This session was run by the Environment Agency to train volunteers on how to digitise the data we will be collecting from the walkover surveys being carried out along Mobberley, Birkin and Sugar Brooks. 

The Environment Agency use a database called the Catchment Walkover Tool to collect walkover survey data in a standardised format, and then this database is used to create interactive maps and educational resources to illustrate the survey results. 

The volunteers really enjoyed the day, and we all learned some new IT skills as well as more about data input and sharing.  We just need to make sure we hire a warmer venue next time!

This Diffuse Water Pollution Project is not just a data collection exercise, as BEACON wants to achieve much more than this.  By the end of the year we will have trained approximatley 30 volunteers to input data and survey for Diffuse Water Pollution, providing these volunteers with skills and knowledge in areas of ecology, water quality, IT and science that they did not have before. 

We will also be using maps made from the Walkover Tool to educate and engage people on their land management practises and signpost them to other places where they can get help, advice and even funding. 

The next training session being held as part of this project is shown on the events page.  If you would like to get involved please contact us using this form.

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