Mersey Rivers Week Success!

Our first ever ‘Mersey Rivers Week’ was held from Monday 17th June to Sunday 23rd June 2019. Events were held every day across the Mersey Basin including Balsam Bashes, River Restoration and our 2nd annual BioBlitz. The events were well attended with over 200 people helping out and learning more about their local rivers, what lives within them, the issues they face and what we can do to help protect them.


Monday 17th June

Balsam Bash – River Irwell

Mersey Rivers Week kicked off with a trip to Ewood Bridge for a Balsam bash around the River Irwell. Himalayan Balsam is a non-native invasive species that prevents growth of our native plants through out-competing and over-shading. The days event was due to be an in-channel botany improvement however heavy rainfall over the weekend made it difficult to enter the watercourse. It was still a very successful and productive day with lots of balsam bashed!

Monday collage

Tuesday 18th June

River Restoration – Redbrook, Partington

This event shows just what partnership working really is.  The day organised by the National Trust Green Academies Project at Dunham, had volunteers from National Trust staff, the Green Academies Project in Quarry Bank and Broadoak High School, as well as a few Mersey Rivers Trust volunteers.  During the day volunteers got stuck in making willow revetments to prevent bank erosion, scraping back overgrown and under-used paths, and tacking some of the Himalayan balsam on site.  An absolutely fantastic day was had with everyone learning new skills, and local young people really re-connecting to their rivers.  Over 30 volunteers attended, creating 2 revetments and dedicating 120 volunteer hours to this day.

Tuesday collage 1

Balsam Bash - Woodbank Park, Stockport.

With the Fiends of Woodbank park we carried out a Balsam Bash in the park in the morning then moved to the river bank for the afternoon. A great day had by all and a large amount of Balsam pulled. 

Tuesday collage 2

Wednesday 19th June

Ranunculus Planting – Middleton

We spent the afternoon at Whitbrook, which is a tributary of the River Irk, increasing the levels of water vegetation by planting ranunculus. Clumps of ranunculus, which were harvested from the River Roach, were wrapped in pieces of hessian and planted in two sections along Whitbrook. As the planted ranunculus grows, strands of the plant will tear off and colonise further downstream. The presence of the ranunculus in this stretch of water will boast the biodiversity of this waterway, as well as providing vital habitat and food source for fish and invertebrates.

Wednesday collage 1 min

Balsam Bash – Reddish Vale

Balsam Bash on the banks of the River Tame with MRT Volunteers at Reddish Vale Country Park. Should of been a Botany day but the Ranunculus collection site was unacceptable so we went to plan b. Another great day with local anglers pulling up Balsam for the benefit of the river, wildlife and the local community.

Wednesday collage 2 min

Thursday 20th June

Balsam Bash – Worsley Brook

Another Balsam Bash, this time along Worsley Brook at Winton Park. Lots of balsam pulled but lots more to be done. Our Salford Small Streams project will help tackle more invasive non-native species (INNS) in the Glaze and Irwell catchments as well as improving water quality, raising awareness of local environmental issues and reducing flooding through Natural Flood Management (NFM) techniques.

Thursday collage

Friday 21st June

Balsam Bash – Low Hall, Hindley

Local residents, Friends of Low Hall, MRT volunteers and staff joined forces for a Balsam Bash in Low Hall LNR, Hindley as part of the Carbon landscape: Hey Brook Revival project. Low Hall is an important wetland reserve alongside Hey Brook which provides valuable habitat to a variety of wildlife. We focussed our efforts in areas where habitat restoration and water quality improvements works will be completed in Autumn 2019. It was a lovely sunny day, great turnout and LOTS of balsam bashed!

Friday collage min

Saturday 22nd June

Bioblitz  - Riverside Park, Macclesfield

Our Bioblitz event, now in it’s second year, run by Mersey Rivers Trust and Bollin Valley Partnership was a fantastic success, and the weather pulled through for us!  This event gives families and local people the chance to find out what is living and growing in their local park, Riverside at Macclesfield.  The day focusses on getting people involved in recording how many different species they can find in different habitats.  There were drop in activities such as River Safari, Pond Dipping and Bug Hunting where children and adults enjoyed getting stuck in hunting for mini-beasts and fish.  The scheduled bird walks, swift spots and worm charming were well attended and gave attendees chance to gain a deeper understanding of wildlife, and ask questions of our experts.  The monoprinting activity went down a storm with our resident artist running out of paper, and the tea tent was almost sold out too!  Thank you to everyone who came and made this a fabulous event.  Over the day about 150 people attended and helped to record, 119 different species of insect, butterfly, fish, flower and bird, an increase from the number of species recorded last year.  We already have plans afoot for Bioblitz 2020…

Saturday collage min

Sunday 23rd June

Balsam Bashing – Bowdon and Wilmslow

Rounding off Mersey Rivers Week was a Balsam Bash held with two community groups who have been working to control Balsam and other invasive non-native species in the Bollin catchment for many years.  Friends of Bowdon Bollin and Friends of the Carrs turned out to pull balsam from areas that we had not been able to tackle in previous years.  By working on small sections over a number of years, and then moving downstream, the eradication of balsam is evident in the areas that both groups manage.  30 volunteer hours were contributed to balsam bashing over the course of the day.  Balsam bashing is easy for anyone to do, it needs no expensive equipment or expertise.  To get involved in a balsam bash local to you please visit the events section on our website here.

Sunday collage











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