In the dawn of 2013, a bunch of brave volunteers came out in the snow and rain to construct green wall modules for our Greening the Lea project. The River Lea suffers from its journey through our capital; its man-made concrete banks provide little habitat for wildlife and misconnected home plumbing and combined sewage overflows have a drastic effect on the water quality of the river and it’s tributaries.
The Greening the Lea project, part of our Love the Lea campaign, aims to boost aquatic plant growth to attract and support wildlife, improve water quality, and improve the aesthetic value of the area. As the river is tidal, the modules will spend part of the time underwater, this will enable different species of plant and wildlife to thrive on the new modules.
The green wall modules are made up of nine metre
squared ‘pallets’ of coir mesh that have been sewn together by some very dedicated volunteers. Five of these ‘pallets’ are established with aquatic plants whilst the remaining four have been left unplanted to self-seed. These pallets are encased in a mesh ‘sandwich’ and attached to the sloped concrete banks of the river.
Volunteer Nic Shore said ‘Spending a snowy day in February, in a disused dock, with a running buffet of tea, soup and cake, sewing pieces of coconut matting together is not everyone’s idea of fun, but it was a very rewarding activity in a bizarre Thames21 kind of way’.
We will be monitoring the modules frequently, recording plant growth, new plants that establish themselves and wildlife sightings. If you want to get involved or find out more, contact Ben Fenton.