As part of our lottery project Dref Werdd are dedicated to safeguarding the rivers of Bro Ffestiniog. Unfortunately Bro Ffestiniog has a ‘dead river’, the Afon Barlwyd has no wildlife in it. This is a result of the slate industry and the historical pollution that occurred when the industry was at its peak.

The Afon Barlwyd Partnership was set up in 2008 to fight against the neglect and to improve the ecological standard for the river in the hope that nature shall flourish there again. Once we realised that other rivers within Bro Ffestiniog were under threat the Partnership then evolved to Bro Ffestiniog Rivers Trust, a body that’s comprised of Y Dref Werdd and other relevant agencies, but more importantly members of the community. It gives a chance for all of these different movements to come together to share any developments including ideas to tackle problems that we all share.

Furthermore Y Dref Werdd has held multiple sessions clearing rubbish from Bro Ffestiniog’s rivers. With help from our volunteers and Keep Wales tidy the Afon Barlwyd, Bowydd and Du Bach have been cleared of rubbish and we’ve calculated that approximately 8 tonnes of waste has been collected from our waters.

Whilst working on the rivers we could see the full extent of the Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica), a non-native invasive species of plant that was introduced in the Victorian era. The plant has hollow stalks that gives it similar look to bamboo, locally known as “peashooters”, and can reach up to heights of 3-4 metres in the most extreme cases. It also has little cream or white coloured blossoms. It causes concern for many people within the Bro Ffestiniog area due to the damage it can inflict on buildings, and its ability to utilise the river flows to increase its range.

Y Dref Werdd have been ridding the plant on our river banks and have so far treated Knotweed on afon Cwmorthin, Bowydd and Du Bach in a short window that’s open from the end of July until October. For 2017 we’re aiming to treat the invasive plant on the Barlwyd including re-visiting the sites of last year to ensure that the re-growth doesn’t get a chance to grow.

We’re also mapping all of the Japanese Knotweed in Bro Ffestiniog, so if you come across the plant within the area you can leave a note on our website or come and see us in our office.

To raise awareness of what we do in the area we’ve held education sessions with local primary schools. The purpose of these sessions is to teach the next generation about the implications of pollution and why it’s important for us to protect our waters.

As a result of our hard work we’ve received a runners-up prize by Keep Wales Tidy awarded throughout Wales for our efforts in raising awareness about polluting rivers including biosecurity and by acting to safeguard them.

If you have any interest in volunteering then lease let us know by contacting us through our social media ages, website or by popping in to see us at our Blaenau shop.

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