Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

23-02-2015: Water Water everywhere – pollution, frogs and ditches

We had a great turn out at the pollution training course last week at Kingston University.

The course, run by the South East Rivers Trust (SERT) aims to teach people the basics around reporting a Level 3 pollution incident, showing us how to recognise the signs and complete the reporting protocol. We also learnt about some of the problem outfalls on the Beverly Brook and the Hogsmill River.

A few of us ended up Adopting an Outfall – where we commit to checking an outfall near to our work/home once a week and monitor it (a quick photo and a few minutes filling out a form), by doing this regularly we can build up a picture of how the outfall works, when we tend to see the most signs of pollution, and what indicators of pollution we see e.g.:
Sewage fungus
Odd chemicals entering the river - smells of laundry detergent could indicate a mis-connected washing machine
We then report our findings to our SPOC! (Single Point Of Contact at SERT). They then report the findings to the Environment Agency (EA). 

The great thing about this scheme is that it investigates the reports that the EA don’t have time to investigate as they concentrate their efforts on the serious Category 1 and 2 incidents. So every incident that we can investigate (which may end up being a category 1 or 2 in disguise), is a bonus.

Feedback from the course was very positive with people being surprised at what can get into our rivers and how it gets in. 
Red diesel on the Wandle poisoning local wildlife
There is still time to get involved in this scheme, if you are interested, please email Polly.

Sticking with the water environment, and after all of the rain that we had yesterday, I checked the pond at Penrhyn road and found the following:
Evidence of amorous frogs
The amount of spawn so far, suggests that we have at least 5 breeding female common frogs in the PR pond. We’ll continue to keep an eye out over the next few days/weeks to see if we get any more fresh spawn.

Local amphibian surveyors will be using this as an indicator of local amphibian populations starting their spring migrations and many will start to survey their local ponds as will we at Kingston Hill. 

This Saturday we’ll be undertaking the ditch work at Tolworth court. These ditches are important habitat corridors for amphibians around the site, so our work will help improve the habitat for both drainage and animals getting in and out of the ditch. If you are free between 10am and 3 to 4pm, why not come along and help out. 

Just email me by Thursday 26th of Feb to let me know if you are coming, as we will be providing all of the tools and snacks (let me know if you have any dietary constraints). We’ll be leaving the PR car park at 9:40am for those who need a lift to the site on the Saturday – places are limited so please book your space soon.

 And don’t forget to book your place on the 2015 Orchard day on Wednesday 11 March before the 4th of March so that we can see if we have enough numbers to run the course this year.

I’ll leave you this Monday morning with this Poem shared by the RSPB

See you soon :)

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