For the last 12 years, the River Stewardship Company and Riverlution have been working in partnership with Kelham Island Neepsend Community Alliance (KINCA) to maintain and enhance their local waterways.
Work primarily takes place on the River Don surrounding Kelham Island where Kelham Island Weir, below Ball Street Bridge, diverts water down the historic Kelham Island Goit, a man-made water channel created to harness energy to power the waterwheels of workshops in this former industrial area.
This special habitat is a haven for flora and fauna, from ferns to fish and amphibians. There are over 115 different species of plants, 34 bird species have been registered, and 9 different types of fish have been recorded.
Our partnership with the RSC and Riverlution enables our neighbourhood not only to look after a valuable natural habitat and learn some new skills, but also to meet new neighbours and build a happier community. The partnership is a real privilege. - Ben McGarry, Chairperson, KINCA
Riverlution supports Kelham Island and Neepsend Community Aliiance (KINCA) in the running of volunteer days and community activities focused on the waterways, by providing tools, waders, health & safety supervision and a helping hand. Working together with engaged local residents and stakeholders, our aim is to improve the green and blue spaces of the area for those who live, work and visit here.
Volunteers carry out tasks such as vegetation management, debris clearance, litter picking and invasive species removal to improve biodiversity and flood resilience. A key task each year is to remove crack willow and buddleia which encroach on the wetland habitats in the goit and cause damage to industrial structures. By enhancing habitats, we help maintain the riverbanks, improve the river flow and encourage wildlife, with signs of kingfishers, otters, sand martins, trout and grayling seen here.
Riverlution work is often carried out by trainee River Stewards taking part in the River Stewardship Skills Scheme. The group curated a ‘River Fun Day’ creating access for families to explore the island at Kelham Weir and take part in activities such as water safety, kick-sampling and green bushcrafts.