Join the Friends this Saturday at the Information Centre with a feel-good walk with people and enjoy the Natural Beauty of Sidcup’s supreme open space ‘Foots Cray Meadows. We start at 11am from the information centre – click here for full details.
Exploring Local Places, Foots Cray Place Saturday 24th July 2021 10am – 4pm. The Friends and Bexley Archaeology Group are co hosting an event as part of the Festival of Archaeology. For full details click the link to see the Poster.
My thanks to Kat at the EA for updating the Friends on this week’s talk of water quality on the Rivers Shuttle & Cray MH FFCM
On Monday (21/06/21) we were made aware of a fish kill involving several hundred dead fish on the River Shuttle at Bexley Woods. Our Water Quality and Fisheries Officers visited later that morning to investigate. Although there were no obvious signs of pollution present we noted a general discolouration and a recent deposit of silt. Thames Water, who operate the sewerage system, along with their contractors also attended. No issues could be found with the river water nor the nearby sewer network. Unfortunately the source and cause of the fish kill still remains unknown. We are having lab analysis carried out on the river water and the investigation remains open. Whatever caused the fish mortality, is likely to have been flushed downstream and diluted. The remaining fish carcasses will decompose naturally without having a negative impact on water quality.
We have received separate reports of fish in distress on the River Cray near Foots Cray Meadow. This was also attended and water quality readings suggested this was the result of a possible algae bloom and is not related to the River Shuttle incident.
Rivers receive water from many different sources including road and yard drainage. Unknown pollutants may enter drainage networks which flow into local watercourses any time but especially in urban catchments following rainfall. Natural waters can also contain strains of blue-green algae, which can be toxic to humans and animals. We carry out bacteriological testing at designated bathing waters to inform swimmers of risk but not in this area.We are therefore not in a position to comment on whether a watercourse is safe to enter for either humans or their pets.
If you have any further concerns regarding health and safety, we would advise contacting the Environmental Health Team at your local authority who is best placed to deal with these sorts of queries.
Likewise, if you do observe any pollution, please report this through to our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
The AGM on Tuesday 22nd June has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for Tuesday 13th July 2021. The reason for the cancellation is mainly due to the weather which although anticipated to be dry tomorrow evening isn’t expected to be very warm and as the AGM is being held outdoors is likely to discourage attendance. It is also the case that England and Scotland are both playing in the Euros at the same time as the AGM.
When you are next along the River Cray between Five Arches and Water Lane you might notice last winter’s Chalk Stream Restoration Work a Thames21 project. Why not Stop Look and listen, you will see what still looks a bit raw, grey and strange, that some trees have been hinged or cut then secured in the river channel. This is standard practice for re naturalising our urbanised Chalk Stream ‘The River Cray’. The purpose is to naturally recreate the river flow variety of a chalk stream enhancing the habitat with some gouging of the river bed or shallow pools. Listen and you will hear the river, yes it’s a ‘babbling brook’ again and this variety to the river channel is good for the health of the river and the wildlife living in and beside a river. Here you may see that fish do live in trees.
Hopefully some silt will be trapped in the wooden features and encourage the growth of marginal plants and the colours of a river bank will return. Yes these trees in rivers will also trap rubbish but better our volunteers remove the plastic at this site than it continue on its journey into the Thames Estuary and eventually the Ocean.
Our Members will have received additional information on this project through our newsletter.
For more on this project and to learn about Chalk Streams use the links below.
After the lakeside drama in last week’s post we take a quiet stroll into North Cray Woods, where you will see that you do not have to drive to a National Trust site to find the delights of a carpet of bluebells carpeting the spring time woodland. We have our own beautiful blooming bluebell experience, hopefully to be enjoyed this weekend after the rain has eased up.
A springtime reminder of the hazards facing wildlife on the Meadows when people get too close. In this case the perils of fishing litter returned to the Five Arches this week when a Canada Goose became mortally entangled and wounded by fishing line and tackle. This distress and injury to the bird was reported to the RSPCA and Bexley Council. The only outcome was for a specialist equipped RCPCA team to attend, dispatch and recover the body of the goose.
This sad incident is a reminder to us all to respect the Natural Environment, not to disturb the wildlife, to take our litter home and why fishing is prohibited at Foots Cray Meadows; with the lake being a Local Nature Reserve. Neither is the lake a safe place for people to swim or jump into.
Funded entirely from public donations the RSPCA is the UK’s largest animal welfare charity and is known to most of us. With the very high demands on their services we are grateful that the RSPCA were able to attend and assist at Foots Cray Meadows.
Picture RSPCA Inspector Mitchell Smith especially equipped for waterfowl rescue at the Five Arches, Foots Cray Meadows.
Following a recent site inspection to Foots Cray Meadows, in the lead-up to Thames 21’s project to undertake works to the river, Bexley have identified an area of woodland that needs to temporarily close. This area has suffered from significant erosion and is virtually impassable due to fallen trees and they have already instructed their team fencing contractor to undertake fencing works to direct site users and when installed Bexley will be erecting temporary signage to advise.