Explore South East London’s rivers with Thames21 this summer

Thames21 call for volunteers to join the annual 3 Rivers Clean-Up to help enhance waterways and protect a number of unique London freshwater habitats.

Londoners are invited to get to know their local river in a series of Thames21-coordinated watery adventures aimed to help improve the rivers of Lewisham, Greenwich and Bromley from June 21 – July 12.

The 3 Rivers Clean-Up, now in its sixth 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 clearing 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 events, which also include nature walks, river dipping, informative talks and habitat improvement for the varied wildlife along the catchment. 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 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 @3RCU on twitter and on Facebook.

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