Wanted: River Wardens

Monday 30th November 2015

Essex Wildlife Trust is looking for new volunteer river wardens, particularly in the south of the county.

Volunteer wardens walk the county’s river banks – or sometimes even kayak or canoe a river itself - to collect information about a river and its vicinity: land use, biodiversity, invasive species, pollution incidents and more. The data is then collated and recorded by Essex Wildlife Trust’s conservation team, who use this information to determine if or how issues can be fixed. Wardens can contribute as much or as little time as they like, and can choose exactly what it is they would like to monitor and where.

The Essex River Wardens Project was established last year by the Essex Rivers Hub – an initiative hosted by Essex Wildlife Trust, to collect important information about our rivers but also to get people out enjoying our fantastic waterways. The project is funded through the Combined Essex Catchment Partnership but we have also been given £5,000 from Essex & Suffolk Water and further funding from Essex Wildlife Trust Brentwood and Billericay Local Group, to provide equipment and training to our volunteers.

It is thanks to this support that we have been able to continue to expand the network. More than 140 volunteers are already helping, covering close to 150 miles of rivers. Monitoring equipment was presented at a celebration event in early November, where volunteers were able to share in the great successes that we have had across the rivers of Essex. This project in particular has already had a wide range of triumphs, with multiple pollution incidents being identified and prevented, invasive species being tackled, community groups forming and hundreds of hours of training being completed.

The Trust is also expanding this project to the coast: excitingly, we will be starting our Essex Coastal Wardens Project with a variety of training courses in spring 2016. Volunteers will then start to walk sections of Essex’s long and varied coastline, to record and submit vital data to the Trust’s conservation team.

To get involved as a river or coastal warden, please email Emily Godfrey. For more information on these projects and to find out more about your local rivers, visit www.essexrivershub.org.uk or follow @EssexRiversHub on Twitter.