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River Lark group recurits 85 new members and gets £8,000 funding

PUBLISHED: 10:58 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:58 07 November 2017

Members of the Bury Water Meadows group working in the River Lark in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds.

Members of the Bury Water Meadows group working in the River Lark in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds.

Archant

There are two good reasons for the River Lark Catchment Partnership to celebrate, this week.

Members of the Bury Water Meadows group working in the River Lark in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds. Members of the Bury Water Meadows group working in the River Lark in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds.

For it has gained a total of 85 more volunteers following a recruitment campaign and has also secured £8,000 from the Environment Agency and Anglian Water’s Flourishing Communities fund to purchase materials to improve the banks of the river in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds.

On Saturday, they recruited 60 people following an open session at the Jubilee Centre, in Mildenhall, and a further 25 from a similar event at the West Stow Country Park.

Andrew Hinchley, the chairman of the RLCP said: “I do not think that people turn up unless they are interested and you have to start somewhere and to get 85 people is excellent.

“The RLCP has made great progress in its first couple of years to get the support of many organisations and individuals who want to maintain and improve our river and its catchment. Now is the time to build on that interest by recruiting interested people all along the river.”

Replenishing of the River Lark bank in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds. Replenishing of the River Lark bank in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds.

And after successful pilot work in the Abbey Gardens by volunteers from the Bury Water Meadows group they are now planning to use the £8,000 to buy wildflower turf mats and artificial bank material to help improve the habitat for insects, birds, mammals and the spawning potential for coarse fish and wild trout.

Volunteers from the BWMG who had been specially trained to work safely in the river have been guided by Glenn Smithson, RLCP’s river restoration officer and have secured coir rolls in the river to help provide a marginal habitat.

The pre planted rolls were held in place with chestnut stakes, driven into the river bed. Alongside these, hazel faggots were added which act as the main silt trap and create a “complex mosaic” habitat.

Alongside the in-river work bank erosion on the Abbey Garden side was also a problem and since dredging and bank modification had been carried out last year 60 square metres of

Members of the Bury Water Meadows group working in the River Lark in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds. Members of the Bury Water Meadows group working in the River Lark in the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds.

wildflower turf was laid.

The turf mats are made up of a mixture of 50% native wildflowers and 50% native grasses all beneficial to insect.

Melanie Lesser, co-ordinator for Bury in Bloom, said: “I was very pleased that the BWMG work in the river and on the banks played a strong part in Bury getting an Environment Award.”

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