Our volunteers have helped us to achieve some great work over the past few months – here’s a snapshot month by month. In August a group spent five days clearing Himalayan balsam at Mohope, the furthest point upstream where it’s been found in the West Allen river so it will be interesting to see the difference next year.
September is always a busy month for spraying Japanese Knotweed, electrofishing and invasive species survey walks. We were able to train three more volunteers in the application of herbicides which is fantastic and will enable us to tackle more Japanese knotweed next year. The weather was rather wet this September which meant we didn’t get quite as much done as we would have liked. Our River Projects Manager Graham Holyoak gave a talk at Ovingham Reading Rooms in which he explained to our volunteers how important it is to map invasive species and how we will use those results to tackle them more efficiently in future years.
Electrofishing was a great task for our volunteers to get involved in although the weather also affected this somewhat with high river levels at times and coloured water! We still managed to get out for a few days, this is such an interesting activity to do and allows us to judge where fish may need help migrating upstream if there are obstructions in their path.
During October we have been involved with clearing water soldier from the ponds at Woolsington along with local residents, this was a smelly yet very satisfying job! This was part of the Ouseburn River Restoration Project in conjunction with Groundwork NE & Cumbria. We have also been working with Peter Downes, Access and Woodland Officer for Durham Wildlife Trust as part of the Land of Oak and Iron Project. We took part in a day at a site in Burnopfield doing some tree thinning and habitat pile creation.
We’ve been lucky to have various corporate groups out volunteering with us such as Akzonobel, Greggs and Northumbria Water and look forward to seeing more of the coming months!