Last night (27.03.2014) saw 18 Lengthsmen attend a presentation given at the Canal Centre by Glen Skelton, RiverSearch coordinator at the Surrey Wildlife Trust. He introduced us to the RiverSearch initiative, which is supported by SWT, and currently operates around several Surrey waterways, of which the River Wey is one of 25 Defra Water Framework Directive pilot catchments. The project has the following aims:
1. To train volunteers to effectively monitor key aspects of river/canal health.
2. To explain the interaction and connection between clean water, healthy wetlands and a thriving wildlife population.
3. To promote the protection of rivers/canals and wetland by providing tools for monitoring.
Glen made us aware of more points of interest that could be monitored along our lengths. As we regularly walk and inspect the same length and build an invaluable local understanding, we are ideally situated to help RiverSearch expand. They currently are very active along the Rivers Wey, Mole, Arun, Eden and Blackwater, and are keen to incorporate the Basingstoke Canal.
The next step is to attend a half day practical course at the Canal Centre and along the towpath, at the end of which we will have the knowledge required to monitor and survey the canal accurately and effectively. The target date for this practical course is early June.
And of course you can always contact me.