2016 was a busy year for the Water Team!

We got a new team member, delivered a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Water Team world record of 11 river restoration tasks around the county which we wouldn’t have been able to do without a staggering 357 volunteer days! On top of this, and again with the help of our amazing volunteers, we managed to carry out 112 days of Balsam Bashing and 14.5 days of Ranunculus planting! Phew! These accomplishments are only possible due to our volunteers, so a HUGE thank you to each and every one of you!

Now with the Christmas break over and done with, we are ready to start again in 2017 with another busy year!

So what is planned for 2017? And how can you help?

River Restoration and habitat improvement
At the moment we are chained to our desk busy writing our project completion reports and starting to plan and design our projects for 2017. We have some really innovative and exciting projects in the pipe line which we will need your help with in the coming months. At the moment, we don’t know a lot of detail as we have to carefully plan and design each project with stakeholders, landowners and the local community, but watch this space and we will keep you updated with our progress!

Balsam Bashing and our fight against non-native invasive species
We are going to start planning this again this year. At the moment we think it will be a similar set up as 2016, with at least a weekly session. In addition to Himalayan and Orange Balsam, Japanese knotweed and Giant Hogweed, we are starting to see more Monkey Flower on our rivers, in particular the Bourne, and so we are planning to also run tasks to clear this species as well.

As always if you see any invasive species starting to grow please let us know. We are also on the lookout for ‘River Guardians’. This would involve running tasks in your local area. We want to do this with the aim of being able to target a larger and more strategic area. We will be able to help you and provide you with support whilst you get started. Please let us know if you would like to get involved in this.

Other volunteering opportunities
Planting days with the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust. We will have tree planting days in the next 6 weeks, which we will need your help with. This will be followed by wetland planting in the spring 

Yellow Fish Project in Swindon- This is an Environment Agency initiative which involves stencilling a yellow fish symbol beside drains to remind people that any waste entering them may go directly to the nearest stream, river, lake, canal, beach or bathing water - causing pollution and killing wildlife. More details here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/avoiding-pollution-yellow-fish-scheme

Please keep up to date with what we have been up to by following us on Twitter @wiltsrivers

If you would like to receive our emails and updates please contact us on water@wiltshirewildlife.org or call us on 01380 736066