From one of our volunteers….

Environment Agency – Anglian Waterways Volunteer Scheme: by Roger Green, Volunteer

The EA volunteer scheme has really developed momentum this year, thanks to the co-ordination, management and support by Cambs ACRE.

16 volunteer lock keepers have been trained in 2018. This included classroom training on health and safety, operational procedures and how to deal with difficult customers! I am pleased to say that the later has been unnecessary!

Following this we had practical training at various lock sites, led by the River Inspector team. This ensured that those with no, or little, boating experience could quickly become confident and benefit from others with more experience.

My volunteering days have been spent mainly at either St Ives or Houghton locks. We work in pairs and tend to be available from Friday through to Monday. The Houghton and St Ives team consists of only 4 active volunteers, this means that coverage is not as extensive as we would like. Despite this we have helped 283 boats to lock though on our patch.Other volunteers operate during the season at the Denver complex and Northampton marina.

In addition to lock keeping we have been involved in ground clearance at Northampton lock island, helped to staff the EA stands Bedford and St Neots River Festivals. We proved useful by providing help and advice about licensing, facilities and boat ownership and assisting passages through St Neots lock before and after the festival.
We will be back in action at the locks in April 2019 and during the winter will be helping with several practical projects and joint training with EA staff.

This has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience, “working” outdoors, helping other people, (including the very needy stag and hen party day boats) and last but not least being thanked by the skippers and crew on every boat passing through “our” locks – truly wonderful!
Roger Green

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A big thank you….

Aside

At the thank you event held on 1 November volunteers were treated to a very hard quizz, a cake, a speech from the Waterways Manager, knot tying and making origami paper boats. An eclectic mix of activities but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and it was an opportunity for the Environment Agency to thank all their  wonderful volunteers who give up their spare time to help them out. Roll on the 2019 boating season!

Northampton Clear Up

Yesterday (Wed 8 Aug) 6 volunteers and 4 Environment Agency staff took on the “island ” at Northampton marina – and won! This piece of land is a peninsula jutting out into the Nene just as boats approach the Marina and Northampton lock. It was overgrown and littered and needed a good clear up.  It also needed opening up to view  to try and discourage anti-social behavior.

Five Environment Agency Waterways Volunteers (plus their Cambridgeshire ACRE co-ordinator)  met at Brampton EA office and car shared to Northampton where they met with a Northampton Volunteer and EA staff. After the essential safety briefing they headed out to clip back shrubs, chop down tree branches, hack at brambles and tussle with ivy. Large sections of bank were cleared and opened up and an enormous pile of cleared vegetation was created (to be chipped at a later date). It was enjoyable work and the cooler weather helped.  There are plans to return…

 

 

ST IVES AND HOUGHTON LOCKS ON BOARD!

Since January two new locations – St Ives and Houghton Locks – have joined the programme.  The lock volunteering is kindly supported by Jones Boatyard at St Ives and the National Trust Houghton Mill by providing volunteer welfare facilities.

In February the recruitment programme commenced  with 16 new recruits for St Ives and Houghton.  (Eight new volunteers for Denver and two for Northampton have also been recruited.)

All the new recruits have completed their classroom training and are now undertaking their ‘on site’ training.

Non Invasive Plant Species

Know what you grow – Invasive non native plant species

Be plant wise to the threat of invasive plants which can take over your pond and damage the environment and remember to dispose of any unwanted plants by composting them.

Here are examples of the main five:

Floating Pennywort – usually found floating on the surface of still or slow moving water where it has escaped into the wold.  Features shiny, kidney shaped leaves with crinkled edges up to 7cm across.

Floating Pennywort

Parrot’s Feather – Usually found growing as a marginal plant in still or slow-moving nutrient-rich water. Is able to keep growing when ponds dry out.  Leaves have a characteristic feathery appearance and are bright green to blue-grey.  Grows both under the water and emerging from the water.

Parrots Feather

New Zealand Pigmyweed – Grows both in and under the water as well as on land by water.Frost resistant. Readily recognisable when growing at the edges of water by its narrow fleshy bright green leaves. Tiny white flowers are present from July to September.

New Zealand Pigmyweed

Water-primrose – Floats on the surface of the water and also on the banks of ponds and rivers.Has bright yellow flowers with five petals from July to August.

Water Primrose

Water Fern – The only floating fern in Great Britain .  Small leaves form dense clusters, spreading out along the surface of the water. Grows at great speed, doubling its biomass every two to three days.

Water Fern

For detailed information:

www.nonnativespecies.org/beplantwise/knowwhatyougrow/index.cfm

 Recording

Everyone can provide useful biological records of non-native species, and with the development of online recording sites and smartphone apps it is now easier than ever. Non-native species records help us to understand how many of these species are present in Britain, and the rate at which they are spreading.

For further information: www.nonnativespecies.org/index.cfm?sectionid=81

Clean and Dry Campaign

checkcleandryposter

Invasive Species Week

In 2015, the NNSS and Defra launched the first Invasive Species Week, bringing together a range of organisations to raise awareness of invasive non-native species and inspire people to #GetINNSvolved and stop the spreadSave the date Invasive Species Week will be back 23-29 March 2018.

For further information: www.nonnativespecies.org/index.cfm?sectionid=132