The annual 3 Rivers Clean Up is a great show of community wanting to protect and improve our urban rivers.
The 3RCU is mainly about keeping our rivers and waterways free from the invasive non-native species, Himalayan Balsam (HB).
HB grows easily in wet soil and its seeds is rapidly spread along river courses. We remove it because it is so prolific that it crowds out other plants and changes the habitat of rivers and their banks.
To cut the risk of spreading the HB seed or any of the roots, we remove the whole plant – it comes out of the ground quite easily – and leave it in piles to compost down in situ.
There are other invasive plants like Giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed but these require special handling.
We also remove any major items of rubbish which can pose a risk to wildlife or generally spoil the river.
Over the years we have removed everything from car batteries and sun beds to garden ornaments.
A lot of houses that back on to the river still use the river as a dumping ground for garden waste, grass clippings, branches and old fences.
These can all end up blocking the river, reducing the river’s flow and potentially causing localised flood risk.
This year we found a floor cleaner and we’re perfecting using it for next year’s clean up!