2014 – November Notices

First things first: MRA Annual Dinner – Tuesday December 16th at The Greyhound.  Always, a good fun night, lovely mix of people, cost (excluding bar) is £23 per person for 2 courses, £27 for 3.  Please book your places with me by December 1st – earlier if you can.
If you can’t attend work parties for one reason or another, but would like to show us your support, please join us – this is for you
If you still mean to attend your first work party one day, but would like to meet and chat first, please join us – this is for you
If you frequently attend work parties, please join us and bring your partner to let him/her meet other river widows/ers – this is for you
If you have already booked with me, many thanks – I’ll be sending out menus shortly.

Some of you will remember our early work parties in 2009 when it was a matter of coaxing a trickle through Chalfont St Giles (February) and into the swampy ground in the woods by Silsden meadow in the following months where neither we nor it (the trickle) knew which way it was meant to flow.  The difference now is amazing!   A couple of weeks ago, we were able to apply a relatively light touch, mainly working on a well defined, stony, bed as we cleared blockages and eased the channel all the way from Pheasant Hill to the sheep field, (does it have a name?), making a big difference and sending good flow on its way downstream.   Also good to have several volunteers from Chalfont St Giles with us.  (Not so good to learn that the scallys had been dam-building again the following day!)

By afternoon, it was pouring with rain but, thankfully, things are similarly improved at CStP and it only needed an hour to litter pick and trim from The Greyhound all the way to the Scout Hut.  (It used to take a whole morning to do a fraction of this.)

However, the team working down the leat didn’t have time to cover the full reach; a couple of trees still need attention there and at Cherry Acre and we could do with a visit to the stretch between Mill Lane and CStG before the winter sets in.  So, plenty to go at on our final work parties for the year 09.30 a.m. and 1.30  p.m. on Sunday 7th December – please let me know if you can join us.     

Interesting talks by, particularly, a representative from Affinity Water and other comments at the recent Chiltern Society Rivers & Wetlands Group AGM.  These attributed the improvements in Misbourne flow largely to the effect of your efforts in simply keeping the bed wet, preventing cracking and enabling silt to block the fissures.

You may have heard of the Quagga Mussel – the latest in a long list of invasive species.   By all means read up on its horrors and potential effects on both wildlife and infrastructure.  However the main point in mentioning it here is that if you might be using boots, waders, tools or boats in the Misbourne that you have used in another water course, you must make sure they are scrupulously washed and dried.  Its larvae are invisible to the naked eye and can survive in little bits of moisture                 

Talking of nasty things: when people come across an invasive species of crayfish – (it will be, because there are no native ones in the area) – I am frequently asked  if it is illegal to put it back in the river?  The answer from the EA is, technically, “yes” – it is an offence to release or to allow the escape of this species into the wild.’ Strictly then, if you see one but don’t remove it from the river, you can leave it be. However, if you remove it you can’t then release it.  Clear enough, I guess – I leave it with you!

Sorry for the late reminder  our next “not a meeting” is at The Ivy House, tomorrow, Tuesday, evening  from 7.45 p.m.  – hopefully its already in someone’s diary or I’ll be drinking alone!


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