Blog

The woes of Balsam

 sThis is the right time of year to head out on the banks of your local river and find some Himalayan balsam. This invasive plant species uses watercourses as a transport corridor for seeds, so you will find them lining the banks of rivers big and small. When these...

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Aspen propagation workshop

Today, RiverLife volunteers propagated around 250 cuttings using suckers from wild aspen root cuttings collected from the Pentland hills back in March.  You can read about that day here: https://www.river-life.org.uk/aspen-root-collection/.  After collecting the root...

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Aspen Refresh Workshop

On the 19th June we organised an Aspen refresh workshop for our project that focusses on the identification and location surveying of Aspen in West Lothian. This project is in association with Eadha trees who we have been working in partnership with throughout this...

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Aspen in the classroom

June saw the inaugural ‘Aspen in the classroom’ sessions with four schools in the Almond and Avon catchments – St Mary’s RC Polbeth, Mid Calder Primary, Whitecross Primary and Riverside Primary.  Adding to the great success of ‘Fish in the classroom’ – now an...

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Howden Rock Ramp Opening Event

Work began on the rock ramp at Howden weir in autumn last year, well, these were the works that can be seen by those passing by or living near by. Plans for the easement of the weir have been ongoing in offices of various organisations for several years. Ending with...

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9th West Lothian Scouts Fishing Night

On a pleasant Tuesday evening on 11th June, 2 RiverLifers, 2 volunteers from West Lothian Angling club, 2 Scout leaders, 1 Scout parent volunteer and around 20 Scouts met at a trout fishery for any evening of fly fishing and to progress further towards the Scouts’...

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Bog burn volunteering session 3

Today’s session, with 5 volunteers - including our regular angling club and community council members as well as a freshwater science PHD student and first time RiverLife volunteer – was based around the Bathgate lagoons.  This series of ponds is a fantastic wetland...

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Craigshill volunteering session 6

2 volunteers from Craigsfarm Community hub and RiverLife met on 6th June to continue some path maintenance below Howden bridge weir.  Reclaimed wood from the excellent Move On Wood Recycling in Edinburgh was used to add an edge to the path where footfall is causing...

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Learning to be otter spotters

Although shy and elusive, otters thrive in Scotland and are often seen along the River Almond. During the construction of the Howden Weir Rock Ramp, the contractors often saw the resident local otters and plenty of signs were found by the team, especially towards the...

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Limefield Falls Art Competition

May will see the first part of a new project running in Polbeth linking students at the local high school with planned work on the River. The Limefield Falls art competition will involve S2 art students from West Calder High School. The competition will be integrated...

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Science Team Q&A sessions at Howden Weir

The construction of a rock ramp at Howden weir is the largest capital works project undertaken by the RiverLife team to date. The rock ramp has been created to allow the passage of migratory fish upstream of the weir and took six months to complete. As an obvious and...

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Duck Race at Rugby Club By-Pass Channel

With the completion of the works at the rugby club weir, the RiverLife team wanted to run an event to mark the occasion. This was the perfect opportunity to satisfy the Forth Rivers Trust directors desire to run a duck race. Turns out that this was a masterstroke, the...

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Bog burn volunteering

One of the RiverLife project’s main aims is the restoration of the Bog burn – including re-meandering the watercourse and improving public access.  However, this work is partially dependant on ground investigation works which will assess potential contamination from...

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Bathgate Trolleys

We had our second session of regular volunteering at Bathgate on Thursday the 18th May. This was fully intended to be a second litter pick as, you may remember, the group didn’t even make it to Meadow Park on the last session. This was because of the magnitude of...

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Willow

There are several UK species of this versatile tree – Goat willow, Crack willow, Bay willow, Grey willow, White willow….  And many of these are suited to wet, boggy ground.  Crack willow – aptly known scientifically as Salix fragilis – does particularly well along the...

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RiverLife Guided Activities and Active Travel

Sunday May 11 was a fantastic day for RiverLife's first Guided Cycle. The route took our group from Ratho Marina along the Union Canal to our first stop, the Almond Aqueduct. The Almond Aqueduct, also known as Lin's Mill Aqueduct, is one of 3 major aqueducts on the...

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Reflecting on River Rubbish

Our RiverRubbish Project has been run on two separate occasions now and they couldn’t be further apart. I don’t mean this in terms of distance, although this is a big factor. I am in fact referring to the river Almond’s diversity, habitat and community around the...

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River Crafts in the Upper Catchment

Annie Lord, works as an artist and has been getting involved with the project delivering a number of workshops and the piece at Almondell & Calderwood Country Park. Here's her thoughts on Sunday's workshop in Whitburn. As part of the RiverRubbish project I was...

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Litter Picking with Friends of Polkemmet

On Sunday 19th of May, Scot and Amelia teamed up with Friends of Polkemmet to deliver a litter pick event along the river Almond that runs through Polkemmet Country Park.  They were also happy to be joined by members of the West Lothian Litter pickers who kindly...

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Invertebrate monitoring on the river Almond

Hidden under the surface of our rivers is a microscopic world of beautiful and alien creatures.  Most of these animals are the larval form of mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies who spend most of their lives feeding and growing under the water before hatching as...

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Spring Green

About this time every year thousands of tiny buds erupt all around us as we carry on with our daily lives.  On a particularly sunny morning we may even notice the stark brightness of green springing out from what seems like everywhere, making those mundane Monday and...

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Fresh water watchers

Citizen science into action. I was fortunate to be able to join a team of avid local river volunteers. We were all taking part in training how to monitor fresh water as part of the fresh water watch project. This is a global project generating data on the quality of...

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Foraging – walking, gathering, eating.

(The ante has certainly been upped!). A big thank you to Szymon, biologist, forager and educator in wild plants for his fantastic foraging guided walk. Not only did we get to walk in the lovely Almondell and Calderwood country park, we also got to learn to identify...

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Bathgate litter pick

With bin bags and litter pickers in hand, David and I met with 5 volunteers by Bathgate’s Bog burn yesterday.  We had a refreshing mix of volunteers – including enthusiastic members of the community, community council members, an angler and a local councillor. The...

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Craigshill Conservation Volunteers

You might have heard us mention a few times about our Craigshill volunteers. These guys are our group of a few dedicated volunteers who have signed on to the idea of regular monthly volunteering in their local area. This was formed through a partnership with...

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Beasties in and along our rivers

I marvel at how resilient nature is at times. This has recently been demonstrated a few times by some of the invertebrates on the river Almond system. Iain has been out and about on both the Almond and Avon recently doing the ecological surveying for the RiverLife...

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What’s lurking in your river?

As the environmental larger works happen in the mid and lower catchment of the Almond, we tend to spend more time around these parts and less up in the upper catchment. We’re trying to do things a bit different and have the second round of our RiverRubbish project up...

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