Working in partnership with the Environment Agency, Rotherham Council, Whiston Ward Councillors, Whiston Parish Council and Yorkshire Water we delivered a community volunteer Brook Clean Up day at Whiston Meadows.
There was a fantastic turnout of 30 people including local community volunteers, Alexander Stafford MP, three local ward councillors and members of the Parish Council.
The day was spent tidying and cutting back vegetation, creating new and improving existing habitat for wildlife, pulling up invasive species and litter-picking around the brook.
Non-native Himalayan Balsam was removed and the area was ‘brashed over’ to hopefully stopping it returning so vigorously. Overhanging vegetation was removed from parts of the brook channel to allow more access for wildlife such as wildfowl; with the season for migratory ducks and waders soon starting it will be interesting to see what duck species can be spotted on the brook this winter.
The vegetation removed was piled into habitat piles, or hibernaculums, which will provide habitat for invertebrates as well as hopefully amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and birds. These piles provide useful habitat niches in an area where previously there was limited standing deadwood.
A thorough litter pick was also performed to make sure the area is pleasant for people using Whiston Meadows for recreation and dog walking.
Elaine Reynard, Whiston Parish Councillor joined the group of volunteers and praised their resilience on the day:
It was great to be part of the team - thanks must go to the local volunteers who turned out on the day - particularly those brave souls who donned the orange dungaree waders and ventured into the brook armed with saws and loppers to clear the overhanging branches! This is a fantastic example of what can be done by working together.
Geoffrey Guy, Riverlution Manager thanked everyone who got involved with the ongoing care of the site.
All the great work achieved on the day will help support the flow of water, encourage wildlife and reduce the spread of invasive species, we hope to see the positive results of our efforts when we return to the brook next Spring.