Nature Conservation Lewisham

Get involved in Lewisham's parks and nature reserves


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Come on an Outfall Safari and help us raise awareness about river pollution!

Outfall Safari

Following the successful first year running the Riverfly monitoring scheme on the Ravensbourne Catchment, we’re offering you another opportunity to help identify pollution hotspots and raise public awareness around drainage misconnections that can harm our rivers.

The waterways of the Ravensbourne, Quaggy and Pool join the Thames at Deptford and like all London’s rivers, they can be polluted by chemicals from detergents and by sewage, due to misconnected plumbing.  Pipes that lead into surface water drains, rather than into sewers, bring these pollutants into our rivers.

While Thames Water and the Environment Agency monitor the river catchment and respond to pollution incidents, it is very hard to create a detailed map of all the troublesome outfalls that have, so far, remained under the radar. An Outfall Safari is the answer. 

Designed to be undertaken by local volunteers, an Outfall Safari requires no expertise beyond simple data collection, which is covered in the bespoke training in September, and keenness to take walks alongside our rivers (and occasionally in them). 

This is a short-term commitment: it will be run over a period of around one month (October 2017) and relies on lots of small teams of volunteers each doing as much or as little as they want.  One team member will record the observations of the group using a simple mobile app and the uploaded data collected by all the teams will create a detailed picture of the current state of the catchment.

 Our Outfall Safari training will be on Wednesday 27th September 2017, from 10-12 noon.  Our trainer is Joe Pecorelli of the Zoological Society of London.  Flyer attached with full details – training is of course free.

An Outfall Safari gathers valuable information.  Data from the app is mapped and passed on the Environment Agency and Thames Water.  And any severe pollution revealed can be investigated immediately by these agencies.  It is a proven method of checking on London’s rivers, already tested on the rivers Crane, Hogsmill and Dollis Brook, and about to be used on the river Pinn.  It relies fully on Citizen Scientists!

Please contact Lawrence for more information or if you are keen to take part.

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Lewisham DWP help out with the 3 Rivers Clean UP

Wading in the Ravensbourne

Wading in the Ravensbourne

A merry bunch of eager volunteers from the Lewisham branch of DWP came out on a wade today as part of the 3 Rivers Clean Up.  16 of us waded from Ladywell Fields to Catford and managed to pull out 10 bags of rubbish, a bin and a trolley.  The trolley came in very handy when we had to take all the rubbish back to base! A big thank you to all of the staff that came – we hope to see you again next year!

The 3 Rivers Clean up is a is a three-week long intensive annual volunteer campaign to improve the rivers Ravensbourne, Pool and Quaggy in South East London.  Now in its eighth year, this unique 3 Rivers Clean Up partnership program has been highly successful in removing and preventing the spread of Himalayan Balsam and other species such as Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed, in the Ravensbourne River catchment. Removing invasive species is the main focus, however, the 3 Rivers Clean Up is a great opportunity to remove all the rubbish and debris that builds up within this urban river catchment.

 


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River Clean-Up with Thames21 – Sunday 24 April, 10.00am- 1.00pm

Join Thames21 for a wade in Ladywell Fields

Join Thames21 for a wade in Ladywell Fields

Meet in the Park at the end of Malyons Road, close to the Adventure Playground and curly railway bridge. Come suitably dressed – though Thames 21 will provide waders/boots and other equipment and will give a short safety talk beforehand.  No children under 12 unless supervised by a responsible adult.

See you there!

The Friends of Ladywell Fields


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Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Plan

Ravensbourne Catchment plan

Ravensbourne Catchment plan

The River

The river Ravensbourne rises, 4 miles south of Bromley town centre at Caesar’s Well in Keston.  It then flows through the London Boroughs of Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich where it then joins the River Thames at Deptford, where its 1/2 mile muddy tidal reach is known as Deptford Creek.  The Ravensbourne is 11 miles (17 km) in length with a total catchment area of 180 km2.

River Ravensbourne catchment map

River Ravensbourne catchment map

The Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Plan

The Catchment Improvement Plan was an initiative led by Thames 21 and supported by several partners, including Lewisham Council, to encourage those with an interest in their local rivers to express their views and have a say about the future of the River Pool, the River Quaggy and the River Ravensbourne. The project had a focus on getting local people more involved in their environment and help them to understand more about the rivers in their backyard. Following on from the two years of extensive consultation and the production of development document ‘The Vision’ in 2014, the Ravensbourne Catchment Partnership hosts Thames21 completed the Ravensbourne Catchment Plan in 2015.

What next?

Within the completed Plan is the Ravensbourne Project Schedule, which contains the main projects that are in progress, in planning or in development along the catchment. These projects are aimed at carrying on the great work that has gone before along the catchment such as the delivery of Sutcliffe Park, Chinbrook Meadows and Ladywell Fields regeneration projects, so that we can remove as much hard engineering as possible, create as many natural habitats as feasible and improve the public amenity value of our waterways without compromising our capacity in dealing with major rainfall events.

How you can help

The RCIG will continue to positively engage with the public by holding training days so that individuals can learn how to lead a river event or conduct water-quality testing. There is also an opportunity for your views to be raised at the RCIG meeting by contacting one of the RCIG partners.

However, if you feel your views are not represented by one of the existing partners please contact Lawrence Beale-Collins, the chair of the group, to discuss representing your group/organisation at the RCIG or to find other ways to become involved.

Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Group

In 2012 Thames21 joined a range of partners from local community groups and charities to councils and government agencies to form the Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Group (RCIG). This group is working to improve the rivers of the Ravensbourne Catchment for people and for wildlife.

The priority for the RCIG is to develop, promote and deliver the Vision and Catchment Plan for the Ravensbourne, Pool and Quaggy rivers.

The work of the RCIG is part of Defra and the Environment Agency’s  ‘catchment-based  approach‘(CaBA) to working with individuals and organisations that can make a difference to the health of England’s water environments. The catchment-based approach aims to deliver and raise awareness of the Water Framework Directive and what this means for our rivers, estuaries and coastal waters – which is EU legislation requiring improvements to water quality and the river environment.

Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Group members

Thames21 is the RCIG ‘host’. Their role is to organise and coordinate the different members of the partnership, and drive Catchment Plan Project Schedule forward. Thames21 is also the initial contact point for any enquiries you may have.
Here is a list of RCIG partners:

Quaggy Waterways Action Group (QWAG)
London Wildlife Trust
LB Lewisham
LB Bromley
Royal Borough of Greenwich
LB Croydon
Thames21

 


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The story of Ladywell Naiad

Earlier this month, the Story of the Ladywell Naiad was told over two nights, once in Manor Park and once in Ladywell Fields.  Story teller Richard Neville delighted crowds with humorous tales while London Bubble Theatre  provided music and fun activities.

Follow #whatlivesinlewisham on Twitter and Instagram and find our hat lives in our Parks and imagination.


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Clearing the Ravensbourne in Beckenham Place Park

3 Sophie and Jess

Clearing the Ravensbourne

As part of the 3 Rivers Clean Up the Nature’s Gym volunteers cleared part of the River Ravensbourne in Beckenham Place Park.  Their work involved picking up litter and pulling up Himalayan Balsam.  Himalayan Balsam is one of a number of invasive species that you can find along our rivers.  This one however is easy to treat with willing volunteers! There is something quite special about wading in a river while dappled sunlight dances across the water! When you are down there you really would not guess that you are in an inner London Borough.

Along with a number of other local groups we run lots of rivers sessions throughout the year.  This doesn’t always involved pulling Balsam, but if this is something that you would like to get involved in, please visit our Friends at the Rivers and People blog.

The video below, filmed with Tom Morgan of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust hows how to remove Himalayan balsam late in the season where it has been allowed to set seed. Himalayan balsam, a weed, is popular with bee keepers due to its high nectar content and late season flowering. However, research has shown it to negatively impact on native invertebrate abundance. The British Beekeepers Association advise that the plant is removed BEFORE it sets seed.