In September 2016 the Westcountry Rivers Trust ran a training workshop on the River Tale at Escot Park based on the “Riverfly” concept. This was on behalf of the River Otter Association’s anglers that have an aspiration to make a difference.
This is citizen science really working for the good of the river, It’s all about anglers and river custodians training to monitoring the water quality of the river to help identity pollution incidents.
The process is a simple concept but does require some accredited training to assure data quality and recognition as a valid monitoring method. The citizen scientists learn to identify eight groups of invertebrates (the most commonly occurring species), such as caddis fly larva, mayfly nymphs and freshwater shrimps. They then set up a monitoring site and undertake a timed kick sample to record the abundance and presence of these invertebrates.
This data gives a regular snap shot of the health of the river as the aquatic species are susceptible to changes in water quality. The process is recognised nationally by the Environment Agency (EA) and fed into an online data base where the volunteer anglers can then notify the EA when an unusual recording is taken. Each site would have a “trigger” level which would mean further investigation is required.
This truly is partnership working, those who care about the river making a difference and long may it continue.
For more Information on the Riverfly concept see http://www.riverflies.org/