Explore your river this summer with 3 Rivers Clean Up

Call for volunteers for 5th annual 3 Rivers Clean-Up
following stark warnings from State of Nature Report about freshwater habitats

Free, open volunteer events and family-friendly river activities
Monday June 17 – Sunday July 7 in Greenwich, Croydon, Lewisham and Bromley

Residents are invited to get to know their local river in a series of watery adventures to help improve the rivers of Lewisham, Greenwich and Bromley from June 17 – July 7.

The annual event follows last week’s launch of Britain’s State of Nature report by Sir David Attenborough, which detailed the range of threats our freshwater habitats are under, and the clear role volunteers have in helping reverse these trends. 57 per cent of surveyed freshwater species have declined, and one in ten freshwater and wetland plants are on recent endangered ‘Red Lists’.

However, volunteer-led activities on our rivers such as this have enabled great gains in saving threatened species of fish and wildfowl, and it is clear that community efforts to restore our river systems are key to halting further declines in biodiversity. *

The 3 Rivers Clean-Up, now in its fifth year, is a festival of river activities along the many tributaries within the Ravensbourne catchment. The focus is on removing non-native plant species along the river, such as Himalayan balsam, which pose a threat to native wildlife and biodiversity, and also taking away the rubbish that gets thrown in. This popular event is backed by a unique and growing partnership between the Environment Agency, environmental groups and local authorities.

3 Rivers Clean-Up Chair, Vic Richardson said: “This is a great opportunity for people to discover hidden green stretches of river on their doorstop, and play a direct role in protecting and improving them for the future.”

Hundreds of volunteers are expected to take part in the family-friendly river based activities, which include walks, river dipping, nature walks and talks, invasive weed removal, litter-picking, and habitat improvement events. Volunteers can also share information on invasive plant sighting and stretches of river they think need a bit of TLC.

Last year 365 volunteers took part in the festival, despite some very wet weather, helping to remove 14.5m³ Himalayan balsam. Last year’s success in reducing invasive plant numbers means that this year it can offer some fun family-friendly activities and novel ways to enjoy South East London’s varied rivers.

Lawrence Beale Collins of the Quaggy Waterways Action Group said: “We get some great feedback from people who had never been in the river before. They can see the positive impact their work can bring to the ecology of the local rivers.”

The project seeks to encourage people to discover, learn about and take pride in their local rivers, helping to connect people to these valuable spaces in a safe and inclusive way. No experience is necessary and these events are suitable for all ages and abilities. All equipment is provided. Under 16s should be accompanied by an adult.

For the full calendar of events or for more information, see: http://www.3riverscleanup.co.uk/ or contact Jess Kyle 020 8314 2119
Send images of invasive weeds and suggestions for the activities to Lawrence Beale Collins,
Quaggy Waterways Action Group: 3riverscleanup@googlemail.com/ ph: 07986 237 431


Media quotes, interviews and images contact:  Emily Braham 07827 352 675 emily.braham@thames21.org.uk

Pictures of the event are available to view and download for media use www.flickr.com/photos/3rcu/

Notes to Editors:

  • Partners of the 3riverscleanup Quaggy Waterways Action Group, Thames21, Environment Agency, Glendale Grounds Maintenance, London Borough of Lewisham, London Borough of Bromley, Royal Borough of Greenwich, London Borough of Croydon, Nature’s Gym, Schools in the Park (Field Studies Council), London Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the Big Lottery Fund.
  • Himalayan balsam is an invasive non-native plant which spreads quickly, clogging up river banks and reducing biodiversity. It shades and crowds native species and causes riverbank erosion, leading to an increase in the risk of flooding.
  • For more information on non-native species see: https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies
  • * Information from State of Nature, May 2013 Freshwater and Wetlands pp 46-50