What to do if you see an environmental incident along a waterway?

Hello, Matt here. Just thought I’d do a post about something that happened recently whilst we were out on a volunteer day. We were litter picking along the River Rother in Canklow when we came across an inlet to the main channel that was discoloured (grey), smelled unpleasant and had rags of material caught up in it (see pictures below).

I called the Environment Agency with the location and details of what I had seen and they gave me a reference number for the report and said they’d look into the incident. A week later I received a call back from an EA officer saying that they found it to be a Yorkshire Water combined sewer overflow (CSO). Yorkshire Water were unaware of the issue as the telemetry indicator was not working and said they would fix the problem.

Anyone can report such incidences as this which can in turn help improve water quality and the general health of the river environment. Together we can report deliberate and non-deliberate sources of pollution and be the eyes to the authorities that have the power to implement changes.

If you see any of the following:

  • damage or danger to the natural environment
  • pollution to water or land
  • poaching or illegal fishing
  • dead fish or fish gasping for air
  • main rivers blocked by a vehicle or fallen tree causing risk of flooding
  • flooding from any river, stream, canal, natural spring or the sea
  • incidents at Environment Agency-regulated waste sites
  • illegal removals from watercourses
  • unusual changes in river flow
  • or collapsed or badly damaged river or canal banks

Report it to the EA Incident hotline: 0800 80 70 60

or visit https://www.gov.uk/report-an-environmental-incident

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My experience organising the Great British Spring Clean

Our appreciate, Anthony, writes about his experience organising a volunteer litter pick…
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As part of my apprenticeship at DCRT I recently organised the Great British Spring Clean. Although I was a little worried at first, I was shocked at how quick and easy it was to do. It is very rewarding to organise a group of friends, all with the same aims, to help improve the environment for the local community and wildlife.

The first thing I had to do was choose the site. I picked a location that I am familiar with for my first event and a place I believed needed a lot of work. This made it easier as I know the address and where the access points to the site are already. Then I had to pick a date and time, this I had to correlate with the nationwide Great British Spring Clean, but choosing a day where you have no other arrangements is best.

Promotion is probably the hardest part of the process however I used the DCRT Twitter and Facebook to get the word out about it. I also created a poster on word and printed it to put up around the site, all of which took me about 30 minutes. The most important thing to remember in promotion is to remember to tell people the date, time, where the event is and where they can find or ask about more information.

You must ensure you have organised for the litter to be collected from a location after the event by the local authority in the area your event is. The last thing that you have to do is complete a risk assessment for the site. DCRT has great risk assessment that you can print off with the information you need, you then tick the boxes with the risks you see on the site on the day. We would be happy to show anyone how it works and also give copies that you can use for your own events.

All this has shown me that organising a volunteer event is not as difficult as it first seems. If anyone would like to organise their own event you can contact anyone from the team and we would be happy to lend you any resources and provide you with any advice if you need any.
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Volunteering is a very rewarding and worthwhile thing to do in your spare time. It helps bring the community together and is very fulfilling use of your time as it gives you a sense of achievement that you have made a difference to the environment. It is also a good social event for a wide range of people to become friends and help their community. The great British spring clean has events all over the country so even if you don’t attend ours you can go to another event near you. These can be seen on the Keep Britain Tidy website under the Great British Spring Clean section.

If you want to come to the clean up we are meeting at 10am on Friday 2nd March on North Street in Swinton, finishing at 1pm.

Press Release: Hidden Heritage Secret Streams

COMMUNITY CONSULTATION OPEN
FOR ‘HIDDEN HERITAGE SECRET STREAMS’ PROJECT

The Don Catchment Rivers Trust is developing a project that will benefit the natural and historic heritage associated with the rivers of the Upper Rother Catchment in North East Derbyshire.

The project, which is called ‘Hidden Heritage Secret Streams’, is being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)* and match funded by the Environment Agency. It is expected that the project will be made up of several elements. One is the restoration of a 700m stretch of the River Rother that was straightened in the 1960s during a time when its water was too polluted to support life. The river will be put back into its original meandering channel, restoring the wide range of habitats required to sustain a wildlife rich river.

moss 24th nov

Other elements of the project will involve local communities. The Trust will work with volunteers to dig ponds and plant trees to trap sediment and pollution, clear up rubbish and ‘balsam bash’ (eradicate Himalayan Balsam, an invasive plant species). A history project will document forgotten watermills, which were a critical source of power during the early industrial revolution. There will also be a programme of events such as guided walks, training and river dipping.

Speaking about the community consultation, Rachel Walker DCRTs Project Manager said “Whilst we have a good idea of what needs doing to improve the river, we want to make sure the project is relevant for communities and includes the types of activities and opportunities people will want to participate in”.

People wishing to contribute should fill in the consultation questionnaire which can be found at www.dcrt.org.uk/community-consultation or by emailing info@dcrt.org.uk. As a thank you for filling out the questionnaire, people can choose to be entered into a prize draw to win one of two boat trips for up to 5 people. This will take place along the Chesterfield Canal with the Chesterfield Canal Trust, aboard John Varley from the Tapton Lock Visitor Centre, Chesterfield.

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 Notes to editors

About the Project Area

The project area is the upper Rother Catchment, the area of land that drains into the upper section of the River Rother.

It borders southern Sheffield and contains the towns of Chesterfield, Stavely, Dronfield and Eckington.

The main tributaries of the upper River Rother are the Moss Brook, the Barlow Brook, the River Drone, the Holme Brook, the River Hipper, the Spital Brook, and the Redleadmill Brook.

About The Don Catchment Rivers Trust

Don Catchment Rivers Trust is a charity that has been established to help protect and restore the rivers in the River Don catchment area, this includes not just the River Don but also the River Dearne, River Rother and other rivers such as the Sheaf, Went, Ea Beck and many others.

Don Catchment Rivers Trust are currently in year 3 of the National Lottery funded ‘Living Heritage of the River Don’ project, which is aiming to return migrating fish to the River Don by creating fish passes, as well as inspire and mobilise local communities to help look after their rivers.

The Trust has also received initial support for the ‘Hidden Heritage Secret Streams’ project from HLF.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.

*HLF Heritage Grants (HG) applications are assessed in two rounds. The Don Catchment Rivers Trust has initially been granted round one development funding of £57,300 by HLF, allowing it to progress with its plans for ‘Hidden Heritage Secret Streams’. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £476,300.

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Don Catchment Rivers Trust wins National Lottery support

The Don Catchment Rivers Trust has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its Hidden Heritage Secret Streams project, it was announced today. Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to benefit natural and historic heritage associated with the rivers of the upper Rother Catchment in North East Derbyshire.

Development funding of £57,000 has also been awarded to help the Trust progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date, with a further £30,000 being provided by the Environment Agency.

It is expected that the project will be made up of several elements. One is the restoration of a 700 m stretch of the River Rother that was straightened in the 1960s during a time when its water was too polluted to support life. The river will be put back into its original meandering channel, restoring the wide range of habitats required to sustain a wildlife rich river.

Other elements of the project will involve local communities. The Trust will work with volunteers to dig ponds and plant trees to trap sediment and pollution, clear up rubbish and ‘balsam bash’ (eradicate Himalayan Balsam, an invasive plant species). A history project will document forgotten watermills, which were a critical source of power during the early industrial revolution. There will also be a programme of events such as guided walks, training and river dipping.

Commenting on the award, Ed Shaw from the DCRT said: “We’re very grateful to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. Historically rivers and industry were strongly interlinked, which is something we celebrate in this project. We now live in an exciting time when river wildlife is returning to our rivers and this project offers many opportunities for people to get stuck in and make a positive difference to wildlife and improve our understanding of the area’s important industrial history.”
Notes to editors
About the Project Area
The project area is the upper Rother Catchment, the area of land that drains into the upper section of the River Rother. It borders southern Sheffield and contains the towns of Chesterfield, Stavely, Dronfield and Eckington. The main tributaries of the upper River Rother are the Moss Brook, the Barlow Brook, the River Drone, the Holme Brook, the River Hipper, the Spital Brook, and the Redleadmill Brook.

About The Don Catchment Rivers Trust
Don Catchment Rivers Trust is a charity that has been established to help protect and restore the rivers in the River Don catchment area, this includes not just the River Don but also the River Dearne, River Rother and other rivers such as the Sheaf, Went, Ea Beck and many others.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. http://www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.
*HLF Heritage Grants (HG) applications are assessed in two rounds. The Don Catchment Rivers Trust has initially been granted round one development funding of £57,300 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £476,300.

The Moss Project So Far

The new project in the Moss valley is funded by Yorkshire water and Don Network grants. Heading up the project is Matt Duffy, project assistant in the DCRT, being assisted by me (Anthony the apprentice).

On our first day working on the project our team worked with Dr Paul Gaskell from the Wild Trout Trust. We began our attempt to unblock the area around the weir, first removing any debris in the way, such as large logs and trees. To do this we used a winch provided by the Wild Trout Trust to move the larger logs downstream.  As we pressed on we removed lots of the vegetation that was blocking the weir and it is now flowing.2017-11-22 21.05.58   Later in the project me and Matt worked together in felling some trees along the moss. The first tree we felled we used to reinforce the bank as it had been eroded away and the footpath was at risk of falling into the river. This will reduce the amount of erosion on the bank so the footpath will be preserved for a little longer. The rest of the trees were placed into habitat piles that can become a home to insects as they feed on the decaying wood and are also sheltered from the elements.20171201_123439  In the project we have also done some tree kicking led by Paul Gaskell. On the day we also worked with our trustee Chris Firth and my sister. Tree kicking is when you cut into the tree and bend it into the river so it can still grow creating habitat for marine invertebrates and also channels the river to increase the flow speed which reduces the flood risk.

moss 24th nov

This past week Matt and I have been brush cutting some of the brambles in the area to try and stop them taking over and allowing new woodland or a meadow to form on the wetland as the brambles can outcompete them. Also the area was previously a wet meadow and would have been kept under control by grazing animals but due to mechanisation on farms and fear of foot and mouth the area is no longer grazed so it is up to people to step I and prevent the brambles taking over. On one of these days one of our dedicated volunteers helped us rake the cut brambles into habitat piles.20171214_120656   If you would like to help us on any of our moss days we have some volunteer days booked in (see our events calendar), or contact Matt Duffy and he can provide you with the dates of our Moss days.

 

A year of volunteering on the Don

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180 conservation volunteers came out to help clean up the Don this year, contributing 1329 hours of their time to the protection of the rivers in the Don catchment. One of our volunteers contributed an incredible 84 hours to the cause!

Our volunteer team have been tidying tow-paths, pulling trolleys from the water and picking lots of litter – 1647 bags of litter in fact! Litter of this scale contributes to local flood-risk, increases water pollution and is eventually washed out to our seas where it poses a great risk to marine life. The waste we find mainly includes unbiodegradable plastic bottles and tin cans dumped on waterside paths, as well as larger fly-tipped items. Trolleys, chairs, prams, tyres, sofas and vacuum cleaners are regularly found and removed from the river by the team. As well as clean-ups we’ve also been improving access on riverside footpaths and maintaining vegetation along the Don Valley Way.

A big thank you to all our incredible volunteers – whose hard-work has really made a difference to the once-neglected riversides in Sheffield, Rotherham & Doncaster.

Our volunteer days run on Tuesdays and Thursdays most weeks and include training. If you would like to volunteer with us in the new year contact our team by emailing volunteer@dcrt.org.uk.

Don Network Day 2017

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Yesterday was Don Network Day at Kelham Island Industial Museum, an annual event organised by Don Catchment Rivers Trust & Environment Agency – joint hosts of the Don Network. This catchment-based approach (CaBA) project aims to bring together groups and projects on the river don catchment,to encourage partnership working, to identify priorities and overcome issues within the sub-catchments.

 

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DCRT’s Chairperson – David Rowley (above), started off the day by giving a small introduction to the Don Network and how it operates.

Next, Environment Agency’s catchment coordinator for Don and Rother – Jo Briddock, took us though a presentation on their ‘environmental program’ and gave an insight into how funding streams are distributed amongst their priorities. A refreshing start to the talks as she explains there is the money available to achieve organisation’s objectives and encouraged delegates to contact her with ideas for projects and what match funding the EA might be available for them.

A big theme for the day appeared to be partnership working, an ethos the CaBA tries to encourage. Keith Tomkins’s (SRWT) Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership, Michael Roger’s (YWT) Humberhead Levels Project and Pete Wall’s (YWT) Dearne Valley Green Heart Partnership presentations all proved what can be achieved when working in partnership to connect disparate nature reserves with wildlife corridors- a true inspiration!

20171109_102232Keith Tomkins from Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust

 

20171109_120747Pete Wall from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Finn Barlow-Duncan, iCASP impact officer offered opportunities for organisations to be partnered-up with academic researchers in developing effective evidence-based riverine projects. This is something Dr Ben Aston – lead advisor in ecology and biodiversity to Yorkshire Water – touched upon when giving insight into evidence-based methods in stopping or reversing the spread of invasive non-native species in water systems.

 

The day concluded with Nicky River’s (SRWT) presenting how last year’s Don Network grants allowed them to catch footage of otters on the Don through their ‘Otterly Amazing’ project. After which Don Network project coordinator Rachel Walker announced the launch of the next round of grants. Click here to see how to apply.

 

Thank you to everyone that came and to the speakers at the event. We hope that attendees found it useful and that all the good work on the Don catchment continues.

 

If you’re interested in being involved in next year’s Don Network Day make a note to keep Thursday 8th November 2018 (tbc) free.