RIVERS and freshwater habitats across Cornwall and Devon need help and a charity has devised various ways for people to offer support this September.

The Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT), which has been restoring and protecting the region’s rivers for almost 30 years, has launched its fundraising Riverside Challenge in the run up to World Rivers on Sunday 24 September.

Communications manager at WRT Josie Purcell said: “We’d love people to celebrate their waterways by walking, running, cycling, swimming or paddling 24km of their favourite, or newly discovered, river location as they fundraise to help us reach our £5,000 target.

“With more and more news about the state of our rivers being shared, the public has taken the health of them to heart, and people want to help diminish negative impacts such as sewage or plastic pollution on freshwater environments.

“This is a great way to do something with family, friends or on your own that will benefit the watery places we love.

The charity has an active volunteer citizen science programme, and the Riverside Challenge will help raise money to cover the costs of water quality testing kits, support habitat improvements, ensure delivery of educational workshops and much more.

World Rivers Day weekend will also see the charity’s national organisation The Rivers Trust hold the UK and Ireland’s first Big River Watch.

This survey calls on people to spend 15 minutes by their local river, answering questions as prompted on its new app (which will launch on 18 September and be available long-term) to build a complete picture of river health nationally so action can be taken where needed for rivers.

On World Rivers Day, WRT’s Strategic Exe Weirs project is supporting the Tidelines Salmon Run in Exeter, which celebrates the lifecycle of the salmon.

This will round off the charity’s Bringing Rivers to You summer campaign, which saw the trust visit Bridport, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro in addition to Exeter to share the love for river life in more urban locations.

Josie added: “Whether you visit us at the Salmon Run, join in with the Big River Watch or take on our Riverside Challenge, you’ll be making a positive difference for river health.”

To take part in the Salmon Run as a volunteer or runner, visit https://tidelines.uk/events/run-salmon-run-2023/. To find out about the Big River Watch, visit https://theriverstrust.org/take-action/the-big-river-watch.

To create a Riverside Challenge fundraiser, or to donate, see https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/campaign/bringing-rivers-to-you

WRT is a charity focussed on restoring and protecting the freshwater environments of of the SW. Its work is underpinned by science, evidence and experience.