We are now entering a new phase of volunteering, after twelve months of the Covid-lockdown, which has meant that a lot of environmental activities have been curtailed or have only gone ahead with small numbers of dedicated workers and volunteers (as in the case of the R. Calder clean-up which we carried out in the summer of 2020 at Elland, with the Calder Rivers Trust http://calderfuture.org.uk/uncategorized/first-clean-up-after-lockdown/).
It is now more important than ever that we work together with other partners to enable social action to protect the riverine environment, mitigate against flooding and to combat water-borne invasive species, namely Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed. Calder Future will be working closely with Trevor Bannister (who created Calder Valley Clean-up after the 2015 Boxing Day flood in the Upper Calder Valley) and others such as the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) to remove debris from the River Calder and its tributaries, some of which has been there since the high waters of February 2020, so before the pandemic. Trevor and a colleague have already surveyed some of the areas which require attention:
Some work has already been done at Brearley Fields, Mytholmroyd and on Ludd Brook at Luddenden village to remove debris and cut back the riverside vegetation which catches hold of the litter, and both Trevor and the environmental co-operative Forus Tree will be working with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust this coming season to clear litter on the R. Calder reaching up towards Hebden Bridge and down to Luddendenfoot.
When it is possible to hold large clean-up events once more, there will be other intiatives taking place via social media as, for example, local councillor Scott Patient is setting up a ‘Keep HebdenRoyd Tidy’ online group, and the partners in the Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum will be promoting a virtual campaign to encourage people to hand-pull the invasive Himalayan balsam in the Calder Valley again this summer – more info about that is on the Council’s ‘Eye on Calderdale’ volunteering opportunities webpage at https://eyeoncalderdale.com/community/volunteering-opportunities
A good place to keep up with news about volunteering is on Facebook, via https://www.facebook.com/groups/585318568293489 (Calder Valley Clean-up) & https://www.facebook.com/CalderCares (Calder Community Cares) – but we hope to be able to advertise scheduled activities in the normal way on our ‘Calendar of Events’ as soon as possible. In fact, we held a small, socially-distanced clean-up of the river at Sowerby Bridge at the beginning of April, applying ‘the rule of six’ (but, also working in tandem with the Halifax Canoe Club) – this was the first activity at that location for 18 months, but the small, dedicated team did fine work, as you can see from the pic below: