Saturday 17th April dawned with not a cloud in the sky. I (Penny Rees) was due to be in Rosetta at 08h30 to prepare for a water workshop with the Rosetta Nottingham Road (RNR) Conservancy, and after the last two days of awful cold, wet weather the sunny sky was an absolute delight – perfect weather for pottering around in rivers and streams.
A short reccee with Adrian Wilson, Chair of the RNR Conservancy, finalised the choice of mini SASS site on a pretty section of stream on the edge of Rosetta,
Then we headed to the Rosetta Hotel to set up the powerpoint presentation I was to show prior to getting our feet wet at the stream. Hotel staff were doing a fine job of cleaning the enormous lounge area after what looked like the party to end all parties that had gone on till 3am that morning – no wonder the staff all looked a wee bit sleepy! A big thanks to all Oliver and Til and their team for preparing our venue at such speed and for the welcome tea and coffee.
After my presentation on the negative impacts that our Midlands rivers face, we headed out into the gloriously sunny day, walking through a pretty grassland en route to the stream.
Although a few Leucocidea (Ouhout) bushes made shade for arum lilies, most of the stream banks were choked with Privet and Basket Willows.
It has become a habit during our River Walks and Water Workshops to have a guess at what the mini SASS score is going to be – sometimes we are surprisingly accurate, sometimes we are just plain surprised, and the Rosetta stream was just one such case.
I had thought it would score in the fair category. This due to the dense invasive plants on the river banks, and knowing that upstream there is construction work underway for the Mooi-Mngeni Transfer scheme, but I couldn’t see any evidence of excess silt or nutrients in the water.
After everyone had helped collect and identify a wonderful variety of aquatic insects,
the score of 4.75 (indicating a stream that is Seriously / Critically modified) was a shocker to all of us.
On critically analysing the area from our parked vehicles, I noticed washing hanging in the bushes just upstream of the mini SASS site, and was told that there is a small settlement hidden from view in the bush there. In addition, the levelled area where we had parked was intruding into the 32 metre riparian buffer.
I was thrilled to hear that the Rosetta Nottingham Road Conservancy are planning on adopting this stream and rehabilitating it. I wish them all the best with their plans to rescue this steam. It is wonderful to find like minded folk who are passionate about our rivers. Well done RNR Conservancy, and thank you to everyone who attended the water workshop – I think it is safe to say we all had a most enjoyable morning.
This workshop was part of the Midlands Conservancies Forum Protecting Ecological Infrastructure Programme, which includes Water Workshops, funded by N3TC.