Want to get involved?
We are always keen to support paddlers who want to help protect and enhance our water environment. There are lots of ways you can be involved - whether you are looking for ways to be involved from your boat, from the banks or even from home.
Find out how you can help. If you’d like to organise your own events, please get in touch. Alternatively, keep an eye on our events pages on Facebook and Twitter, where we share events organised by British Canoeing and our partners. You can also find details of how your club or centre can organise environmental events in Clubs and Centres.
Here are a few ways you can help protect our water environments:
Reporting Environmental Incidents
If you encounter environmental incidents on our waterways, please ensure these are reported to the relevant authorities. You can also copy us in, as we may be able to help in ensuring the message reaches a wider audience.
Examples of common environmental issues include:
- Invasive species or weeds/vegetation encroaching on a waterway – you can find identification tools in our Stop the Spread section;
- Dead or distressed struggling wildlife, including as fish kills, or fish gulping for air
- Toxic Blue-Green Algae – find out more about Blue-Green Algae;
- Rubbish and river blockages – especially around bridges and weirs;
- Pollution and Water Quality – from oil spills to unusual colouration of the watercourse. Find out more about pollution issues on our waterways.
If you see any of these issues in the waters you paddle, you can report them using the following links:
- British Canoeing – 0845 370 9500 – email [email protected]
- Environment Agency – for reports of pollution incidents, blockages in waterways, fish in distress and other environmental problems
- Canal & River Trust
- RSPCA for wildlife and animals in distress – 0990 55 59 99 (24 hours)
- RSPB - www.rspb.org.uk
- Leave No Trace - www.lnt.org
- Natural England - www.naturalengland.org.uk
- Environment Agency - www.environment-agency.gov.uk
- The Green Blue - www.thegreenblue.org.uk
- Marine and Coast Guard Agency - www.mcga.gov.uk
- For Coastguard and other emergency services call 999
River Clean Ups
Waterways can provide a trap for the rubbish discarded by people or industry, or debris from flood events. This can leave banks clogged with litter that has been washed into the water. British Canoeing has supported Clubs and individuals across England to organise river cleaning days - collecting tons of rubbish in the process - while getting out for a fun paddle! We also have links to a range of environmental and community groups who organise their own river litter picks, from the banks or from the water.
You can organise a River Clean Up in one of three ways:
- Join an organised event – events organised by organisations such as Keep Britain Tidy or Canal & River Trust are the easiest way to get involved, as all the organising is done for you. See our event listings for more information.
- Organise an event for your club or centre. Clean ups are a fun way for your club to contribute to the health or your water environment. Download our River Clean Up guide to find out how to organise one.
- Organise an event for you and your friends. We’ve produced a River Clean Up guide to help you plan a fun and safe event.
However you’d like to get involved please do contact us – we can help you plan the event, get publicity and find organisations that can help you with equipment and expertise.
Invasive Species Removal
Canoes and kayaks can be a great way of getting into spots which can’t be reached from the bank side. This makes them ideal for helping in the removal of some Invasive Non-Native Species, such as Himalayan Balsam.
Many wildlife organisations promote events to clear invasive species from our waterways. We can also help you find suitable sites for you to assist, whether in your boat or from the banks. We will list projects in our events listings where possible – but please contact us and we can help you find events and projects in your local area. Make sure after taking part in any activities you remember to Check, Clean, Dry!
Paddle for the Environment
If you’re thinking about organising a paddling trip why not turn it into a sponsored event? You could raise valuable funds for one of the many organisations looking after our waterways – from wildlife and river restoration charities through to organisations promoting our waterside heritage. Contact us if you need ideas for charities operating on the waterways you use, for advice on organising, and so we can promote your cause!