Minutes of AGM 30th March, 2017
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting
30th March, 2017
Roseholme, Golwgydre Lane, Newtown
Rex Shayler, Chris Kinsey, Kath Wigley, John Wigley, Pete Thomas, Sue Newham, Richard Rendall, Paula Scott, Mike Davies
Introduction and welcome
Apologies for absence
Peter Harris, Judi Deakin, Lisa Barlow, Sally Rackham, Ruth Bemment, Martin Bemment, Liz Hinkley, Mathilde Mans
Minutes of previous AGM
The minutes from the 2016 AGM were read and approved.
Presentation of accounts Rex Shayler
The accounts, copy appended, were presented to the meeting. These show that after agreed purchases of footprint traps, waders and safety glasses, we will have a small surplus. We will need to raise additional sums when the group insurance and web site fees become due.
The accounts were accepted.
Annual report Mike Davies and Paula Scott
- Current Membership. The current membership is 42.
- Baseline Survey. The survey of river bank edges was continued during this year and we have now mapped our entire section, apart from some locations that will need canoe or boat access and suitable water conditions. After some training on a GIS mapping programme Paula is also plotting our survey results onto maps and satellite photos of the earth so they are easily viewed.
- Fly Larvae monitoring. This survey is continuing at a location downstream of the Halfpenny Bridge. Results are updated regularly on the web site. Training courses are still available for anyone wishing to participate in other locations, details will be emailed to members.
- Bird Survey . This has been ongoing on an intermittent basis for two years and so far 44 bird species have been identified. Our most complete data set is for Little Milford and all results can be viewed on the web site, which is kept up to date.
- Web Site,Blog, Facebook. The web site is being maintained and updated with data as they are generated. The blog and Facebook presence are not particularly active and it was suggested that perhaps we should concentrate on Facebook since many members are familiar users of it. All members are encouraged to report sightings of birds, fish, invasive species, otters and minks, etc either through the Facebook page or by email to the secretary.
- River Protection and Clean up. During 2016 -17 we had 2 extensive in-river clean ups and a number of river bank litter picks. There are now a number of objects in the river and another in river clean-up will take place when water conditions are suitable. Members should report any objects in the river that need removal. Fallen trees are not included unless they are likely to cause flooding since Natural Resources Wales consider them a valuable habitat.
- Invasive species monitor and control. We continue to control Giant Hogweed along the river bank, particularly in the area where the Mochdre Brook enters the river. Areas of Japanese Knotweed are reported to Natural Resources Wales who chemically treat it to protect flood defenses. We encourage people to eat Himalayan Balsam and only remove it to provide access to the river. Crayfish monitoring continues but all we find are the invasive American Signal crayfish, never the native variety. This invasive crayfish is widespread in our stretch of the river and the only good news is that the otters love them.
- Bird and Bat boxes. These are installed in Dolerw Park and the bird boxes are well used. The bat boxes, however, are still awaiting tenants.
- Green spaces asset transfer. There is a project to transfer ownership of most of the green spaces around Newtown from Powys County Council to the Newtown Town Council, see attached map. A coalition of interested community groups is actively discussing the best use of this land and the River Severn Custodians are involved. Many possible uses are on the table and our input is vital to protect the river and wildlife while encouraging responsible use of the river. Your comments are important.
- Canal Basin project. There has been little activity on this project but we shall continue to keep a watching brief.
- Parson’s Bridge. This was the footbridge linking the Gro Tump area to Llanllwchaiarn Church and has been washed away on a number of occasions during flooding. For a number of reasons we would like to reinstate a pedestrian/cycling bridge near this location. The original location is no longer available since the river course has altered and public rights of way do not exist. A grant to study and cost this has been applied for by Walking Newtown.
Planned activities for 2017
- Survey work. Bank and feature survey will be completed from the river when conditions allow. The bird survey will also continue, concentrating on unusual sightings. We would like to monitor river usage and would appreciate it if you would let us know if you see people canoeing, swimming or fishing for our log.
- Camera and footprint traps will be installed in suitable locations to monitor local fauna, particularly otters and mink. If you know of a suitable location please let us know. Please inform us if you see mink and otter to give us the best location for traps.
- Invasive monitoring and control. This will continue.
- Recruitment, involvement of young people. We would like to encourage more young people to get involved in our activities and will continue to offer presentations to schools and community groups. We shall also approach the All Saints Youth Group, Air Cadets, Police Cadets and the Scouts to see if we can generate interest and involvement.
- Newtown Carnival and Food Festival. We consider that the Food Festival is a good forum for us to raise awareness of the river and of our activities so we plan to have a presence there during the first weekend in September. We have decided that we will not participate in the Newtown Carnival.
Election of committee
All committee members and officers present agreed to continue in their roles. Committee members not present will be contacted to see if they are willing to continue.
Any other business
Peter Harris reported by email that he has been unsuccessful in obtaining corporate funding from the two companies he has so far approached but is now contacting another company which he thinks might be supportive. Peter is also contacting the Air Cadets to see if they can be involved in some of our activities.
Sue Newham told the meeting about a litter pick event by the All Saints Youth Group on 9th April. We will have a representative there to discuss the groups’ ongoing involvement.
It has been reported that there have been incidents of dogs being deliberately poisoned by sausages laced with poison being placed along the river bank. Be on the look-out, especially dog owners amongst us.
Mike Davies, Secretary
31st March, 2017