River Warden Update

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March 2019

With much of our parkland being along the river valleys through Milton Keynes, we have a responsibility as a riparian landowner to do what we can to help keep our watercourses in good condition. Towards this, we launched our River Wardens Project in spring 2018. This is linked to a national initiative led by the Environment Agency as a way to engage the public in monitoring their local rivers and streams. We were grateful to colleagues from The Environment Agency and The Greensand Trust (an environmental charity based in Bedfordshire, who have a River Wardens Scheme monitoring the upper reaches of the River Ouzel) who came along and helped deliver our training sessions last year. We quickly signed up a team of volunteers who have done a great job of patrolling various stretches of the River Ouzel through Milton Keynes on a monthly basis. The volunteers submit their reports regularly and help us to respond to any issues on the river such as pollution or litter.

We would now like to recruit some volunteers to act as River Wardens on the Great Ouse. The Parks Trust owns a large amount of land along the Ouse from Passenham in the west to New Bradwell in the east and we would like to recruit between 10 and 14 people to help us with this project. It is simply a question of walking your stretch of the river once a month and making a note of all that you see. As well as keeping an eye out for anything amiss we also encourage you to record any interesting wildlife sightings as you go along, to help us build up a picture of which species are using our rivers.

We will be arranging a training session later this year for all our River Wardens, new and experienced, to learn how to do freshwater invertebrate surveys in the river. The number and diversity of invertebrates in our samples can tell us a lot about the quality of the river.

If you think you might be interested in taking part in this survey or would like to know more, please email our Senior Biodiversity Officer Martin: m.kincaid@theparkstrust.com