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 https://www.riverleacatchment.org.uk/index.php/river-about-us/the-river-beane-catchment-partnership
3. Water Vole Reintroduction. – 2020 Update
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 RBRA has assisted.
This was expected to be a three year exercise following the large reduction in abstraction which took place in 2017 at the Whitehall Pump Station.
The initial activity revolved around ensuring that there were no mink in the Beane valley. Then the whole river valley was surveyed and the outcome recorded for the HMWT to decide which parts of the river might be suitable for a Water Vole reintroduction.
In parallel with this activity, Affinity Water in conjunction with the Woodhall Estate carried out river improvements around the Broadwater which had suffered a catastrophic bank collapse. That work is finished and the river is re-establishing itself in this area, although delayed by drought in 2019. HMWT have paused the Water Vole decisions until this area has settled.