From tackling plastic pollution and counting riverfly to making berms or creating spawning grounds for trout, Rivers Week is time to get your wellies on, roll up your sleeves and take action for nature.
Surrey Wildlife Trust is celebrating its 60th anniversary during Rivers Week and the United Nations World Rivers Day on Sunday 22 September. A whole host of walks, talks and river work tasks in Suurey will take people deeper into the underwater world of the river bed, wildlife and ecosystems of rivers.
Rivers Week launches on Saturday 21st September with the National Trust’s Wey River Festival at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford. Join the Surrey Wildlife Trust to see how many riverfly you can count in water samples from the Wey. There’s also willow weaving, a pirate boot camp, food, craft activities and the fantastic illuminated pageant at dusk serenaded by the Croydon Steel Orchestra. With free entry to the Wharf, it is open from 11am to 9.30pm.
Across the county local groups, paddle boarders and boat clubs, will be running river clean up tasks in urban hotspots such as Farnham, Leatherhead and others. The Trust will be wading in with volunteers to remove larger waste such as shopping trolleys, bicycles, footballs and other items lurking beneath the surface of rivers.
On Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 September, Surrey Wildlife Trust and a team of volunteers will be clearing a stretch of the Tillingbourne stream at Abinger Hammer, removing invasive rhodendrun and laurel from the channel and repairing a stretch of riverbank where the water is escaping. The river has dried up over 200 metres, so the team aims to get it flowing again.
On the evening of Monday 23 September, ecologist Gabbie Graham from the Surrey Wildlife Trust will be hosting a bat walk in Esher along the River Mole.
On Friday 27 and Saturday 28 September, Surrey Wildlife Trust and a team of volunteers will be creating fish habitat along the Tillingbourne at Shalford. Pinning logs into the river, creating berms for marginal plants to take hold and cleaning gravel for fish spawning are just some of the tasks they will be doing.
On Sunday 28 September, ornithologist Ken Ancorn from the Surrey Wildlife Trust will be giving a guided bird walk along the River Wey at Thundry Meadows.
Glen Skelton, wetland landscapes officer at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said:
‘With conservation so hot on the agenda now, there is so much attention on plastic pollution in seas and oceans. So we really want people to deepen their understanding about rivers, plastic pollution and the wildlife that lives in them too. The rivers in Surrey might look beautiful on the surface but underneath they are suffering from the same challenges our seas are facing.
‘Rivers can only thrive if people take an active role in looking after them. Issues such as pollution, floods and degradation of habitat are not solely river issues, they are issues for our communities and for the future generations, which impact our own health and well-being.’
Surrey Wildlife Trust takes a strategic role across Surrey’s waterways hosting the River Wey and River Mole catchment partnerships. Over the last four years, these partnerships have delivered multiple river restoration projects to connect local people back to the river, training over 200 volunteers who have been involved in monitoring and restoring over 110km of river.