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World Rivers Day 2009

On the last Sunday of September, World Rivers Day is celebrated throughout the world. It has become an annual event with participants staging a wide variety of events to celebrate and promote the natural, cultural and social importance that these waterways have on those that are linked to them (to find out more see the World Rivers Day website).

Last year, to join in the celebrations, the ‘Wands’ were involved in creating the Wandle’s first flow deflector, in an attempt to improve the habitat for the invertebrates and fish that inhabit the river (see the blog). This year we joined in again. This time though we decided to address an ever growing concern – namely that of invasive plant species. There are numerous plants that have worked their way into our river – Floating Pennywort, Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam. It is the latter that is of particular concern along the middle reaches of the Wandle, so a team of volunteers met early this morning with one aim in mind – to clear Ravensbury Terrace (in Wandsworth) of the wretched plant.

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Working along the banks of a river is all well and good, however, to keep anglers out of one is all together a different kettle of fish. And so it proved to be, as we then descended into a mini clean-up.

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After bagging up all the uprooted plants, we then proceeded to take them to the local tip.

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By now, the team of volunteers were parched and famished and in dire need of some sustenance of some sort, so we headed off to the William Morris pub (which overlooks the river) for some much needed refreshments. Once there, we raised our glasses to the Wandle and another to all those other volunteers worldwide who, like us, are involved in awareness raising, habitat improvement and the protection of our rivers.

As a fitting finale, we decided to have a ‘fish-in’, so, invigorated once more, we headed towards the river and cast our offerings to her…

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… and once more we were rewarded by her, as we all caught fish. And just to prove that Trout in the Classroom really does work… the fishing was topped off by a brownie caught and released by John, not to mention some marvellous marble cake provided by some onlooking ladies.

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