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Team Belu step out to see water stewardship in action

Team Belu at the completed project.

Team Belu (and a couple of our four-legged friends) stepped out into the (almost) sun last week on a mission to see the latest piece of Belu water stewardship in action: Thames21s River Ravensbourne and Glassmill Pond Project in Bromley.

Members of the Thames21 team Tom Whitehead, Carolina Pinto and Miguel Andrés as well as Jeff Royce from Friends of Bromley Town Parks and Gardens talked us through the background of the project, explaining how what was a murky patch of water with a sluggish flow was rejuvenated to become a freeflowing river next to a fully de-silted mill pond. The aim of the project was to restore the area into a thriving haven for wildlife, in particular improving the waterway for fish, so that they can move upstream freely to spawn. Read more here.

A water stewardship project, taking Glassmill Pond back to the way nature intended

The newly separated river channel.
Natural debris left from the project

Miguel and Carolina brought the project to life and talked us through the activity involved, including creating artificial ‘fish ramps’ to guide fish upstream, redistributing sediment to create the artificial divide, and allowing the river to flow more freely. This kick-started natural river processes which will now maintain themselves. By enabling the natural ebb and flow of the water Thames21 have ensured that, in the future, the river will remain clear of heavy silt and will develop into a well balanced eco-system.

Belu asked, Thames21 answered

Naturally, the team was bubbling with questions about the project. These included questions surrounding risk-management, community engagement and perhaps the best question of all from Commercial Director Jan’s son, Jacob ‘Why is it called Thames21?’

In terms of risk-management, as well as some challenges around under-water construction, flooding during the project’s completion meant woven supports were required to prevent sediment migration. Community is at the heart of the project, with some of the work relying on volunteer assistance. The local passion for the project was certainly evident when Friend Jeff talked about his thoughts on the process and the positive impact it is already having on the surrounding area.

And why is Thames21 called Thames21? The name reflects Agenda 21, the blueprint for sustainable development that emerged from the UN’s Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992. As for the Thames bit… Well, this is a case in point – the work that they do revolves around the protection and restoration of the River Thames.

Team Belu talking to Thames21 and Jeff from Friends of Bromley Town Parks and Gardens.

Next steps

Following on from the already completed work, Thames21 is currently drumming up volunteer support for the planting of around 3000 native plants along the newly established banks of the river and pond. This will include the planting of sapling trees, whose roots will further ensure the stability of the new banks.

A huge thank you to the Thames21 team and the Friends of Bromley Town Parks and Garden for taking the time to share this important water stewardship project with the Belu Team. Great to see our impact investments really making a difference and great to work in partnership with you towards changing the way the world sees water.

Footwear worn by the team.
The 'Boots of Belu'

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