2019 – December Delights

First off, you will be delighted to have confirmation of what you will all have expected – the great comeback has begun! Dave’s dippings for the beginning of December show a healthy rise in groundwater levels and there is now flow right through Amersham and past the bridge on the by-pass (A413). This is great news at this stage of the winter recharge season and we can hope of good things by next spring. Nevertheless, while rising, groundwater levels are still typically a couple of metres below average. This year’s interruption of flow at Amersham Church was a little shorter than in 2017 and was the fifth in our records – others being 1992 (several months?), 1996 – 1998 (20 months), 2006 (4 months), 2017 (2 months). Do see the various graphs etc. on our website for more detail.

So, good news brought our first work party for a good long while. We tackled the stretch from Amersham Church to just past Tesco, clearing 4 trees and much debris on our way. Some say they saw some returning small fish. Today, other hardy souls have cleared more fallen wood and established flow past the by-pass bridge. Thanks to those who have already signed up for this Saturday’s work party. There is still plenty of time to let me know if you can join us (10.00 – 12.30) I will send out “orders of the day” on Friday.

We were surprised to find that the flow past Tesco did not continue on to the bridge under Station Road but disappeared down a culvert under the carpark. Apparently this culvert is the line of the mill leat for the old cotton mill at Bury End. The actual river bed may be silted under Station Road or the wier to the leat may need attention: either way Chilterns Conservation Board and EA will look into it. This explains why the clear flow reappears and joins the line of the river course just to the east of the recently closed Jaguar garage.

The Chiltern Society Rivers and Wetlands Group AGM was packed full of enthusiasm. Thanks in no small measure to Doug Kennedy, immediate past Chairman, the plight of the Chilterns Chalk Streams has reached many new and hopefully influential ears at the top of the various supply and regulatory organisations. The meeting discussed some of the huge challenges facing our water supplies such as housing developments, the inadequacy of our building regulations to encourage water saving, climate change and, not least, the appallingly high water consumption per capita in our area. Doug will now be devoting his time to the Chalk Rivers Action Group (CRAG) – an alliance of all similar bodies in the UK. The new Chilterns Group Chairman is Dan Turner.

Now then, we still have room for more of you at our 12th Annual Dinner at The Greyhound on next Wednesday 11th. If “Annual Dinner” sounds POSH, be assured, we are not! If “MRA Annual Dinner” sounds as if it will all be about paddling in rivers, believe me, it won’t! So if you enjoy a relaxed meal with plenty of lovely people and lots of laughter and would like to join us, I will be delighted to hear from you ASAP and by Saturday evening latest.

Thats all from me in 2019 so its time to send thanks for all your support and very best wishes for your Christmas and New Year,

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