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Can you help us tackle invasive species?

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Volunteers at the River Wey, in May.

It has been a busy and productive month tackling Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) on our waters.

A large number of volunteers turned out to clear the damaging floating pennywort from the River Wey Navigation, in May.

Many invasive species spoil our paddling experiences and damage the environment.

There's another chance to return to the Surrey area for more action, on 9th July. 

Please register here.

Ben Francis, British Canoeing's Environmental Project Officer, has written about all of the work that has been happening over the past few months.

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Volunteers using their kayaks, canoes and paddleboards on the River Wey.

May was a very busy month with lots of amazing volunteering work happening in the Thames Region as part of the National Invasive Species Week.

I have shared some of my recent highlights below showing the amazing voluntary work which has taken place.

Himalayan balsam survey on the River Stort

The members of Whoosh Explore Canoe Club were out surveying and removing Himalayan balsam from the River Stort in Essex and Hertfordshire, on 16th and 17th May.

It is a highly invasive plant which is commonly spotted along waterway by its distinctive pink flower. 

Read more about it here and watch a film by Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust:

The two days were organised by Andy Gee from Whoosh Explore Canoe club who did an amazing job at bringing together all organisations to support this important work. 

On the two days we we were joined by: The Angling Trust, Canal and Rivers Trust, The Environment Agency, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, Stort Valley Anglers, Thames Water. 

Big thank you to Whoosh Explore Canoe Club for organising and all organisations for joining this important initiative.

In the build up to the Slalom World Championships in 2023 at the Lee Valley, I will be championing some important environmental volunteering with groups in the area. 

If you are a club or paddler in the Lee valley and would like to take part, please contact me.

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Ben Francis welcomes volunteers at the River Wey Navigation, in May.

Continued efforts on the River Mole

On 17th May, I was lucky to join the hard work of Purley Canoe Club and the residents of Molesey to continue our clearance of Floating Pennywort from the River Mole in Surrey. 

This time as part of National Invasive Species Week. The group has made great progress in clearing the channel from the top working downstream and what a difference it has made. 

You can see how much floating pennywort has been removed between Autumn 2021 and now.

A big thank you to the Lower Mole Partnership and Purley Canoe Club for organising. 

Thanks too to the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Brett’s Aggregates, Canoe and Camping Club, the Caravan and Camping Club and the residents of Molesey for taking part and supporting the project.

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Volunteers tackle floating pennywort on the River Wey.

Big volunteer turnout on the River Wey

I organised a second volunteer event at the River Wey Navigation (Surrey) in partnership with the Angling Trust, this followed the success of our first event in September 2021. 

The day was a great success with over 60 volunteers taking part from 24 organisations and groups. 

It was a really effective day where we were able to clear a kilometre of the River Wey Navigation of floating pennywort mats.

You can read in more detail about how the day went, and some more volunteer perspectives here.

A big thank you to everyone who took part and supported the event!

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Volunteers made a huge difference in removing floating pennywort.

Half-term volunteering for Addlestone Canoe Club 

I joined Addlestone Canoe Club for another day of pennywort clearance at the River Wey Navigation in Surrey. 

In spite of the weather, volunteers of all ages took part during the  holidays where we cleared pennywort from a kilometre stretch of the River Wey Navigation. 

We also picked up some litter on the way as well! Before returning to the club for Check, Clean, Dry of all the equipment and a nice hot jacket potato.

Big thank you to Wendy and everyone who took part from the club. To learn more about Check, Clean, Dry and the importance of this, please click here

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You can help remove more floating pennywort on the 9th July.

Lovely Paddle on the River Thames A big shout out to Dittons Paddleboarding who let me join them for a great evening paddle on the River Thames near Hampton Court Palace. 

It was a brilliant evening to paddle, with interesting sights to see along the way and great to catch up with the club. Thanks for letting me join!

Future opportunities 

If you are a club or a member in the Thames and tributaries, who is affected by floating pennywort and would like to get involved in future volunteering opportunities, please contact me.

The next big volunteering opportunity we have at the River Wey is taking place on Saturday 9th July, to take part, please register here.