Wye News (March 2014)

Forming a ‘Friends of the Wye’ group

Mike Overall

Chairman – Revive the Wye

We were delighted that about 40 people came to our meeting on the 5th March to talk about the possibility of setting up ‘Friends of the Wye’ group to support the activities of the Revive the Wye Steering Group.

Over half of them said they would be prepared to assist RTW in one way or another. We are though still looking for two or three people to join a small working group to think through how the ‘Friends’ group would operate before we formally create it. I would be pleased to hear from anyone that is interested. I can be contacted at mike@mjoverall.freeserve.co.uk

The meeting discussed a range of activities that such a supporters group could do. Some of these are listed below. A fuller list is being put on the RTW website.

River Wardens to periodically walk along stretches of the river and report things that need attention to the steering group or relevant authority

Litter Pickingwith a group of ‘Friends’ or neighbours (waste collection would be arranged with WDC contractors)

Marketing to help promote RTW and its activities

Event Supportersto help organise events or man an RTW stall at events

Water quality monitoringbe trained to regularly test the river’s water quality by checking levels of invertebrates


 

River Wye at Desborough

Canalised river bank in Desborough

Canalised river bank in Desborough

Work to improve the river banks in Desborough Recreation Ground is to start in the next few weeks. This will involve removing canalised concrete banks and naturalising the river channels using coir rolls. The work will be similar to that carried out to the river on the Rye which was similarly supported by Revive the Wye through working with the Environment Agency and the Wild Trout Trust.

Funding comes from the Community Infrastructure Levy on new development, approved by Wycombe District Council. This has been match funded by donations from a private business, and the Wild Trout Trust.

A more natural river bank

A more natural river bank


 

Concerns over the sewage discharge into the Hughenden Stream

Everyone is aware that persistent rain this winter has caused quite tragic problems for people in various parts of the country, including residents along the Thames. Residents in Hughenden have had a different but similarly unpleasant experience as the wettest winter on record has meant that Thames Water’s sewer network, which is only designed to take away wastewater from homes and businesses, has been overwhelmed with floodwater. Thames Water was quoted as saying that groundwater in the area was exceptionally high and was causing their sewers to discharge.

Sewage being pumped into the Hughenden Stream

Sewage being pumped into the Hughenden Stream

Sewage flooding the roads and footpaths in parts of Hughenden Valley led to concerns over public health. To alleviate this risk, Thames Water pumped the sewage into the Hughenden Stream, leading to further concerns both for fish and humans. The Environment Agency has put a pollution monitoring logger into the stream to monitor the impact of the sewage and to check pollution levels have not breached legislation.

This is not the first time this problem has occurred and so David Lidington, MP for the area has written to Thames Water to ask for a long term solution. Mike Overall has written to David Lidington on behalf of Revive the Wye to stress the importance of protecting the river for its biodiversity as well as for public health and to make him aware of the Revive the Wye project.


 

Brief Items

The Environment Agency has carried out re – stocking of the fish in the Rye Dyke, Over 5000 fish are being monitoring to assess how successful this has been and to determine whether more plants are needed to provide them with shelter from predators.

Revive the Wye has been invited to attend Wooburn Fete on Saturday the 21st of June. Volunteers are needed to help man a stand. If anyone would like to come forward please let us know.

Glory Mill walk – anyone who attended the walk along the river with Jane Dunsterville last November will know how fascinating the history of the mills along the river is. Another walk is planned at Glory Mill April 26th 11-12.30. See the Events page on the web site

We have a number of key vacancies – the steering group is looking for an administrator who is able to arrange meetings; take minutes and circulate papers. We also need someone who can organise promotion of the project and help with fund- raising.

Ground water levels are still rising in the Chilterns and so river levels are not subsiding. As a result it is not safe for volunteers to get into the river to do some much needed clearance in some places. Please keep an eye on the web site for dates for future work sessions but they are unlikely to be soon!

Wycombe District Council is hoping to install planting in the river behind the fire station in High Wycombe this Spring. Dates will be partly dependant on river levels.

Slide presentations given at the Friends meeting on the 5th March – copies can be emailed on request.

Check out the rest of the Revive the Wye website for more news and information. www.revivethewye.org.uk

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