WTSWW ‘ River Rangers’ monitoring pollution on the city river

Volunteers have been helping to monitor and report conditions on the River Tawe via a Welsh Government funded initiative, headed by the ourselves at the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.

Tawe River Rangers

Tawe River Rangers

The aim of the project, which began at the end of August, is to accurately record and report water conditions and wildlife abundance on the Tawe, which is notoriously plagued by pollution caused by human activity.

A team of 12 volunteers from all over Swansea have been receiving training in the identification and reporting of pollution, invasive non-native  species and key aquatic wildlife. Trained rangers have then been patrolling an allocated stretch of the Tawe, and recording what they see by completing a report once every two weeks and returning it to ourselves.

So far a total of 4 separate pollution incidents have been reported to Natural Resources Wales via the scheme, with incidents ranging from fuel spillages to sewage leaks. We have also received reports of wonderful aquatic wildlife using the river, with regular sightings of Kingfisher, Dipper and  evidence of Otter activity.

Rhi Bevan, our Water for Wildlife Officer has praised the activity of the volunteers, stating: ‘It is immensely important that suspected pollution incidents are reported as soon as possible to minimise the damage to the local environment. Unfortunately, more often than not that does not happen, so having a team of people specifically looking out for pollution on the waterway is an invaluable resource. At the same time, we are able to gather reports of wildlife sightings, which helps us and other organisations calculate the overall health of biodiversity in the river.

Do you think you’ve spotted pollution on a waterway? Call the Natural Resources Wales incident line on 0800 80 70 60 – open 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year and free from a BT landline.

Rhi Bevan