Network based systems

Calling for River Ranger volunteers to help maintain the valley water system

A conservation group is calling on volunteers to help with a Paignton project.

A new River Rangers volunteer program will be based in Westerland Valley and volunteers are encouraged to help monitor local freshwater species and use online reporting tools to share results, supporting local biodiversity.

The project was created to allow local residents, community groups, schools and organizations to become more involved in maintaining our water system.

The River Rangers program is part of the Westerland Valley project which is implemented by the environmental charity Groundwork South in conjunction with Torbay Council and SWISCo.

The project is funded by the National Green Recovery Fund.

Steve Darling, Head of Torbay Council, said: “The Westerland Valley improvement work is a great example of working in partnership and we are very keen to enable the local community to become more involved as well.

Councilor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, said: “We at Torbay River Rangers want to work to develop a more open conversation about the health of our local water bodies and provide opportunities for strategic interventions and data collection to take place at the community level.

In addition to the work the River Rangers will do, the Westerland Valley Project has supported ten campaign interns – Kickstarter apprentices – who have worked on a range of projects including installing planters, clearing overgrown areas , including the reveal of a historic wall at the old reservoir.

They’ve also created ‘hibernacula’: creating grassy areas with holes for slow worms, creating a large compost bin, planting trees and other projects will include a ‘spiral effect’ wildflower meadow.

A former reservoir purchased by the Paignton Waterworks Company in 1890, Westerland Valley is a hidden gem, off Kings Ash Road in Paignton, next to the Great Parks Community Center and a short walk from a local housing estate.

It is home to brown hairstreak butterflies, large horseshoe bats and 24 species of birds.

Christopher Smith, Rural Development Manager for Groundwork South, said: “Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a volunteer River Ranger.

“We will provide anyone who signs up with all the equipment and training needed to undertake freshwater species monitoring and they will also have access to an online reporting system.”

For more information or to register your interest, email Chris from Groundwork South at [email protected]

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