'Only Rain Down the Drain'

and Bird Feeding campaign

An awareness campaign to help prevent pollution

BCP Council’s Poole Park Life team has been working with Litter Free Coast & Sea and Wessex Water to pass this message onto more than 2,000 residents and businesses within the Poole Park lakes and lagoon catchment area:

“Did you know the street drains outside your home are only designed to take rainfall and lead, untreated, straight to Poole Park lakes and lagoon?”

‘Only Rain Down the Drain’

Our ‘Only Rain Down the Drain’ awareness campaign started in June/July 2018, through postcard distribution, information provided at events, drain marking and pavement artwork leading from the park into the catchment area.

Highlighting the message is really important for the future of the salt water lagoon in Poole Park. Several species call the lagoon their home, including sea squirts, eels, shore crabs, young Goby fish and tassel weed. Starlet Sea Anemone which are very small and very difficult to see, live in the mud at the bottom of Poole Park lagoon and are as endangered as the red squirrel. All the wildlife in the lagoon needs the best quality water to allow them to flourish; ensuring that only rain goes down the drain is the best way for us all to help them. 

In 2019

For this year’s campaign, we would like to hear from you to get an understanding of what the campaign has achieved and whether residents or businesses have changed any behaviour as a result. Postcards with updated information and images will be sent out to local residents and businesses once again, and this time will include a link to an online survey to help us to monitor the campaign’s impact.

There will also be some guidance on what best to feed birdlife in Poole Park. Visitors feed large amounts of bread to the swans and geese every day, sometimes whole loaves!  We would like to encourage visitors to instead bring a range of different bird feed [please see below for details]. This would not only help to improve water quality in the lakes and lagoon, it would also be healthier for the birds.

Finally, a number of improvements took place in early 2019 to help create more habitat features for fish, crabs and birds; you can find out more about them at the project page Dredging, Islands & Landscaping.

What local residents can do to help

There are a number of measures that local residents and businesses can take to avoid pollutants entering Poole Park’s lakes and lagoon.

For example:

  • Avoid pouring chemicals or dirty water in outside drains which are designed only for run off from your gutters.
  • Pick up and bin dog poo, to make sure it is not washed into surface water drains.
  • Stop letting soapy car washing water run into street drains, by using a designated car washing area or by using eco friendly car washing materials
  • Stop feeding birds bread and feed them a balanced diet instead
  • Use a bin for litter and cigarette butts

Are you aware that you may have plumbing & drainage misconnections in your home or business, that may lead to wastewater or sewage entering a street drain instead of your sewer? For more information please check www.connectright.org.uk and if you have any concerns, please contact your local water company. As a homeowner or property owner, you are responsible for fixing any misconnections and preventing pollution.

Drain Marking

Last year a number of drains were marked, and a large piece of artwork was created outside the shops opposite the Civic Centre. The aim is to create attention and awareness for the campaign. The paint was only meant to last a few weeks, however some of the markings are still visible a year later! We therefore decided to refresh the artwork and drain markings as part of the campaign for this year.

Refreshing the pavement artwork and drain markings; designed & created by local artist Claire Nuttall (above left), ably assisted by volunteer Vivienne Baker

Feeding Ducks, Geese and Swans in the park

Every day, large amounts of bread are fed to birds in Poole Park, which is unhealthy for the birds and uneaten bread can pollute the water the birds live in. Bread can also help cause algal blooms, allows bacteria to breed and attracts rats and other vermin which carry disease. 

We would therefore like to encourage visitors to bring a range of different bird feed including peas, lettuce, porridge, sweetcorn and poultry corn or pellets. Dried corn and food pellets should be for poultry and can be bought online or at pet food stores. Do not use bird seed which has been designed for garden birds as these mixes usually contain shelled sunflower seeds which wildfowl cannot eat. 

Please feed small amounts, small handfuls at a time. This prevents fighting among the birds and avoids any food being left over. Finally, if you do feed birds bread, please ensure it is fresh and give only very small amounts.

Click to view a larger size image

Poole Park drainage catchment area
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The message and the advice distributed to local residents and businesses in 2018