It’s been a while since my last entry so here are a few things to bring you up-to-date.
Fieldwork has almost come to an end for this year with the majority of waders, nets and buckets being packed away until 2015, but that’s no bad thing as river levels are up and down at the moment after each band of rain makes its way across the Clyde catchment.
My last piece of fieldwork (in between the storms, thankfully!) was to help undertake a habitat and invertebrate survey along the Board Burn in Twechar. Hopefully the information collected in these surveys will support the local community group in their mission to improve their local river.
The community group (who are yet to decide a name for themselves!) have been chomping at the bit to get going so recently organised a litter pick to start things off. I joined the group and we had a successful few hours collecting enough rubbish to almost fill a skip. We found anything and everything from motorbikes to golf balls, footballs to bottles, more golf balls to flower pots, plastic bags to scooters and much much more! Hopefully the efforts of this community group will develop into a useful example of how caring for our rivers can benefit both people and the environment.
As a variety of strategies are needed to tackle any litter problem, I also used the litter pick as an opportunity to support the community in recording the types and amount of litter removed. Sure, it might be more satisfying to just remove litter instead of identifying and recording every item as its removed, but collecting this information will help to identify trends, collate evidence on the extent of the problem and identify what else can be done to tackle the issue of litter at it’s source.
Alongside this I’ve also had the opportunity to enthuse school children about their local burn by assisting the Clyde River Foundation (CRF) to deliver their Flying Fish educational project.
In terms of the wildlife the Clyde supports, since my last blog an unwelcome species has been reported in the Clyde – the Chinese Mitten Crab. Remains of a single Chinese Mitten Crab were found late in the summer and the original news article can be found here, should you want to find out more. And whilst on the subject on invasive non-native species, I also recently joined the Forth Fisheries Trust to help control Japanese knotweed along a stretch of the River Almond as part of their invasives species project. Under full supervision and ghost buster outfit (no photographic evidence I’m afraid!) we sprayed large, problem stands which will hopefully be repeated in future years.
And to finish off, earlier this month I took a trip across to the Isle of Cumbrae to attend a research conference on the conservation of the Clyde and the wider environment. It was a great opportunity to have some insight into how work of CRF fits into the bigger picture, as well as being a nice wee trip from the mainland! Should you take a trip to Cumbrae, you may be lucky enough to see or hear a few eider ducks on your way. It’s not a call I was familiar with before but definitely worth a listen!
Thanks for reading.