2023 – New Year News

Dear All

Firstly, even if a little belated, very best wishes for 2023 to all. Looking back, I recall everyone thoroughly enjoyed a very good evening at our Annual Dinner in December: to reduce the chance of you missing this year’s, why not make a note in your diaries now for Wednesday 13th December 2023 at 7.30pm?

To the present, while not everyone will be enjoying the substantial rains and grey days, it is encouraging to see groundwater levels recovering strongly from the deficits caused by last year’s sunny drought. Indeed, only the 14th today but already more rainfall than the average for the whole of January, and Jan 1st groundwater levels are generally slightly above average – though a long way below the records of 2001 or other peaks such as 2009 and 2013. Flows into Chalfont St Giles and spring flow well above Chalfont Park are both earlier than often so we have an opportunity to make a good attempt to “join the dots” early in the Spring. As always, see lots of info at “Quickview Figures”

Having restored flow the length of the mill leat from Misbourne Farm to Mill Lane before Christmas, it’s time now to clean the sections from Mill lane to Chalfont St Giles and then from St Giles church bridge through to the fields. After that, the state of the watercourse through the fields again becomes critical to the stream in Chalfont St Peter and we will need to work with the landowners through there.

We have been looking into a slight change in planning work parties to a) recognise that they don’t have to rely on my personal availability and b) establish dates longer in advance so you can select one or two for your diaries. We will discuss further at a “not-a-meeting” at The Greyhound on 1st February at 7.15pm – all welcome for a drink and chat, old hands and newcomers, workers, and supporters from the side.

Meanwhile, suggested initial work party dates are: Saturdays 28th January and 18th February at 10.00 and 1.00 and Thursdays 2nd February and 23rd February at 10.30. Please let me know if you can join any, or more of these and any views you have regarding frequency, alternative dates or times etc. Do remember too that we have a WhattsApp group which is a good way of pulling together ad hoc activities. If you would like to join that, let me know and be sure I have your mobile phone number. Depending on your views, we might consider setting dates for the year – what do you think?

I expect many of you are members of The Chiltern Society and receive Catherine Montcrieff’s Rivers & Wetlands updates. There is good work going on and I recommend joining if not already a member. A browse around Chiltern Chalk Streams is very interesting and there are other links to all sorts of positive happenings. Similarly, I am pleased to have made initial contact with Project Groundwater – a DEFRA funded initiative which aims to gather information regarding flood risks, particularly from groundwater and develop resilience within the context of climate change.

In last year’s “November News” – see From the Riverbank – there was a thought that perhaps there is a need to think hard about future organisation of MRA including a) a more devolved leadership and committee structure b) relationship with Chiltern Society c) funds – including possibly a small annual subscription. More comments from any supporters, whether a regular worker or an armchair reader with a passing interest, would be very welcome.

As ever, looking forward to seeing you by or in the river (or at The Greyhound on 1st Feb)

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