Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

18-04-2017: Frogs and Eels and Balsam oh my!

Unexpected visitors

So a quick catch up on last months events in the river as well as a call for help with our eel monitoring this summer.

As some of you may have read in our monthly newsletter, March saw a lot of activity on the Hogsmill river.

At the start of the month we had two unexpected visitors to the riverbank when we found these two common frogs during our first riverbank TLC event. We spotted the first Himalayan balsam seedling on the embankment during the event and later have seen more plants seen sprouting at the start of April.
Volunteers get busy picking up litter, renewing signs and gardening on the riverbank

We're allowing them to get a bit bigger and then running a balsam bash on the 17th of May at Knights Park if you are able to join us. If you aren't free on the 17th, please try to join us on the 31st where we will be joining other conservation groups at a big balsam bash at the source of the balsam on the river.

We had some good news on the eel project- the South East Rivers Trust came to our rescue when they turned up on the morning of the first eel training and fixed the broken eel trap at the end of March. They also re-jigged the trap a bit to improve the water flow through the trap.

Unfortunately we had some bad news on the pollution front, when the two outfalls by the eel trap were found to have sewage fungus in and around them, signs of a new mis-connection into the system.
Mis-connections polluting the river above and SERT to the rescue of the eel project below
The first eel training of the season with the Zoological Society of London went well. During the training we found out about a new virus found to be affecting eels. ZSL have asked all eel monitors and the general public to look out for signs of the infection in either live or dead eels found in our rivers.

Indoors and outdoors on the ZSL training event, spotting wildlife as we go
The images below show the mottled skin pattern which indicates infection. If you see dead eels in the river showing these symptoms and are in a position to get a clear photograph, please send the image and a description of the location to so that we can forward the information to ZSL and the Environment Agency (EA).
Mottled skin on eels indicating infection.
Our next eel training will take place on the 10th May. We still need lots of volunteers on the project, so if you can help, and are free between 2-4pm to attend the short training session, please sign up by emailing me on by the 4th May.

Until next time.

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