Our activities are mainly in three categories;
1. Environmental Monitoring
- Ground Water Measurements. Once a month we measure the ground water levels in the nine boreholes installed in 1996.
- River Wardens. A number of regular walkers send monthly reports about river conditions such as rubbish tips or other incidents
- Invasive species monitoring. Himalayan Balsum, Giant Hogwood, Japanese Knotweed and Mink are all invasive species. We track the spread of these and encourage landowners to take remedial action.
- River Fly Monitoring. The health of a river can be measured by the variety of species living in the river. Certain larvae are used as indicator species, and the number and quantity of species found gives a reliable guide to the condition of the river. If the numbers suddenly drop The Environment Agency would immediately investigate because it could indicate a pollution incident.
- River flow monitoring. This hasn’t started yet, but we have agreed to do this as one way of measuring river improvement once abstraction is reduced.
All the above results are coordinated by us and sent to the Environment Agency. We have been working with the EA for 20 years. All the results are gathered by volunteers and we welcome new members.
2. Catchment Management Plan
The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust have produced a Catchment Management Plan for both the Beane and the Mimram. The RBRA are members of the Catchment team along with Affinity Water, the Environment Agency, Friends of the Mimram and the Countryside Management Service. Full details can be found at http://www.beaneandmimrampartnership.org.uk/
3. Water Vole Reintroduction
The Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust are considering the reintroduction of Water Voles to the River Beane. At present the Beane has no Water Voles, although there were some years ago. The H&MWT have successfully reintroduced Water Voles to the Stort, would like to repeat the exercise and have asked RBRA to assist which we are happy to do.
This is likely to be a three year exercise and will follow the reduction in abstraction due in 2018. The initial activity revolves around ensuring that there are no mink in the Beane valley. We are surveying locations to install more mink monitoring rafts particularly in the upper catchment.