Botany Discussions

Dr Malcolm Greenhalgh, author of the Collins book on Freshwater life, along with Dr Mike Dempsey, talked about diatoms, phytobenthos and macrophytes and their role in supporting invertebrate and fish populations in our rivers.  Mersey Rivers Trust colleagues and friends enjoyed a lively discussion, with fascinating anecdotes, about the river habitat of various rivers in the Mersey catchment.  Armed with this knowledge, we are better equipped and inspired to look for ways to improve the ecosystems that live in our rivers.

Dr Malcolm Greenhalgh

On Sunday 16th December we were helped by Ivor, Neil, Mike, Phil, Stephen, Derek, Samantha, Sam, Katherine, John, David, Kevin and Joe.. to clean a few hundred yards of riverbank on the River Irwell near Salford Wetlands....
We had planned to do an "in river" clean up - but heavy overnight rain left the river high and dirty..... We have a very strict policy of "if you can't see where you are putting your feet, then you don't get in"..... so we were restricted to "up the bank" litter picking duties
That didn't mean that there wasn't much to do.... In just a few hours we managed to fill 100 bags with rubbish... mostly plastics and wet wipes.
This area of river is an area where the river deposits material ... and as you can see from the photos below.... we have a real task ahead of us before we can say our clean up efforts are complete.
We will be holding more river clean up events in January - it would be great if you could join us..... in exchange for your energy and smile.... we provide hot drinks, biscuits, jam doughnuts, gloves, litter pickers, bin bags, and an opportunity to make a big difference to the river environment.
We look forwards to feeding and equipping you in the New Year!


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CoN Coffee Morning compressed 2As the Call of Nature project in the Bollin catchment runs into it's second year, we've been very busy looking at what changes can be made to improve the water quality of Marthall and Pedley Brooks, which are currently in poor ecological condition.  

On Tuesday morning it was the turn of local residents to find out what they can do to reduce their water consumption, and how using low phosphate household products and toiletires can really help to improve the water quality of Marthall and Pedley Brooks.  


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A coffee morning (with magnificent homemade cake!) was held at a local home, with eleven people attending.  Everyone was very interested to find out about the negative impacts of phosphate pollution, and were concerned to find that is causes an increase in algal growth which can suffocate fish, fish eggs and invertebrates. Phosphates do occur naturally, but can also be added to rivers by leaking septic tanks, use of regular household cleaners and washing fats, oils or food down the drains.  Sally Potts, Project Manager, showed the local residents alternative household products and toiletries they could use, and gave out gift bags with samples of eco-friendly washing up liquid, body wash, skincare and water saving devices.

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The morning was a success with everyone saying they had learned something new, and were interested to try out the samples and would look to switching from their regular cleaning products.  For more hints and tips, please visit our project page here.  

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Thank you to everyone who came, and for Viv who hosted this fantastic coffee morning.  We hope to repeat this as an evening event in the near future.

This Call of Nature Project is funded by the Environment Agency and is part of a regional campaign across the North West.

You can find out more about last year's Call of Nature project here.  

New 'Flood Hub' Website launching soon!

The Flood Hub is a new website developed for the North West to help homeowners, businesses, communities and landowners manage their flood risk and become more flood resilient. The Flood Hub has been funded by the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) and is a joint initiative developed by Newground, the Environment Agency, United Utilities, and the Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire Strategic Flood Partnerships. The website will launch on Monday 5th November and can be accessed here:

You can follow @TheFloodHub on Twitter now to see previews of content before the launch of the website, and to keep up to date with flood resilience information once it is live -


The Flood Hub Website 

Schools Week in the Bollin Catchment

Every October sees the return of Schools Week, a week of scheduled events run by the Bollin Valley Partnership.  The BEACON Project has been part of this week long set of events for several years now, and we were looking forward to takig part again this year.

On 3rd October the BEACON Project Manager, Sally Potts, went to Well Green Primary School in Hale to deliver workshops to four year groups of children, ranging in age from 5 to 9 years old.  

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The youngest students started out thier morning thinking about invasive non-native species.  Here they looked at food chains and the effects invasive non-native species can have on food chains, and in essence break these down.  The children then discussed what made these invasive species good at taking over, and used this knowledge to create thier own invasive species masks.  I think you will agree these pupils were very creative!

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In the afternoon the older children learned about what happens to the water when you pull out the plug from the bath, the sink or flush the toilet.  They discussed the things we use water for in our everyday lives and how much water this equates to (you can find out more about this here).   The pupils found out about how our waste water and sewage is treated, and how we can help by making sure we only put the right things down the plug or toilet.  The pupils enjoyed a sorting game with props to help them decide what can or can't be flushed!   Later on, they did some science and tested different samples of water for phosphate, and found out about the effects of phosphates in river systems.

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Thank you to all the pupils at Well Green Primary who took part in our workshops, worked hard and really showed their creativity.  If you or your school is interested in a FREE workshop please contact us using the form here.


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