Now and in lockdown, the Salford Ranger Team keeps working on a continuous conservation task in Kersal Wetlands, even with the harshest of weather and with a lack of volunteers.
The Kersal Wetlands, created as part of a £10 million flood protection scheme, gives the rangers the role of taking care of the wildlife and the water flow in it.
Joe Palframan, 41, is a ranger for the Salford Rangers Team, helping multiple green spaces in Salford, he said: “We minimise conservation work in the spring and early summer to reduce disturbance to wildlife, so by the time we get back on site, there are a lot more self-seeds to remove.
“Also, during the first lockdown with having no volunteers, it meant the work had built up.
“When we restarted volunteering though, lots of peoples plans and situations had changed and I also think people wanted to do something productive and help their local environment.”
Salford Rangers now having received a peak of volunteers after lockdown, plan for next year to include an update in the educational aspect, which took a big drop during the pandemic, as well as more wildlife walks and events.
He said: “Anyone can come along and volunteer, we have a range of tasks on our sites.
“Some of the tasks may be more physically demanding and on quite rough terrain, others less so.”
The Kersal wetlands are well known for its purpose to serve a self-defence system against flooding in the zone of Irlam, as back in 2015 the area was overwhelmed by a flood that covered multiple houses.
Tom West, started volunteering for Salford Rangers in 2020, he said: “I’m a very big believer in the purpose of green space and the fact of how it helps the community.
“And it is very important work, during the summer as well, it needs to be kept up regularly, regardless of the weather, so it is important in the winter as well.”
The removal of young samplings of willows from the wetlands is necessary as they can overwhelm and cause harm to the wetlands’ wildlife, causing erosion and blocking waterways.
Talking about the removal of willows, Tom said: “Is important because of two reasons, the first reason is that if they are allowed to self-feed they will basically take over the entire area and turn into a scrub area rather than a wetland.
“And the second important reason is as well, that the main part of Kersal wetlands is the reason why it’s there, it’s a flood basin, and it is very important that Willow trees are not allowed to completely take over that area.”
The Salford Rangers have had many supporters backing their continuous effort, including, Andrew Walters, the councillor for Kersal and Broughton Park, he said: “I think it’s absolutely vital that if we have these beautiful resources, that they are taken care of properly and ultimately the council does take responsibility because this is not something that we can just expect other groups to do.
“Obviously, we do have volunteering groups of like litter picking like Salford Litter Heroes but we spend £10 million pounds on this and we need to keep it up, so I think it’s absolutely vital that the rangers do their work.”
The work of the rangers keeps the area available for anyone to use, this be for leisure or exercise.
Antonia, from Kersal, is a runner who has been using the wetlands as a space to exercise for over a year, not minding of the cloudy and rainy weather.
When being asked how it is to run in the wetlands, she said: “It’s so good for your mind and it’s very refreshing.”