Both the Dorset Wildlife Trust and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust run a River Monitoring Scheme. The scheme is of interest to keen anglers and wildlife enthusiasts alike, who both share a concern for the present and future health of our rivers.
The River Monitoring Scheme is based on the counting at regular intervals of key river insect species and other invertebrate groups as a method of assessing river quality. Many insect and invertebrate species are extremely sensitive to pollution levels and therefore their numbers act as an early warning system of any potential problems.
The methodology used is that of the Riverfly Partnership (www.riverflies.org ). The number of 8 different groups of insects and other invertebrates are counted. Monitors are asked to carry out the surveys on a monthly basis between April and September, ideally at the same time each month, (weather and river conditions permitting). Many of our volunteers carry on outside these months, if it is safe to do, and also monitor redds (non-migratory Trout, and, migratory Salmon & Trout spawning sites). Generally speaking these surveys take a minimum time of one hour. The data obtained is submitted to us at the two Wildlife Trusts: in the event of a reduced count, the Environment Agency is contacted for investigation of a potential pollution incident.
The photographs show volunteer monitors from Dorset and Wiltshire training at a joint workshop run on the River Cerne near Dorchester in May 2013. The VCT recently provided The River Monitoring Scheme with a grant which enabled them to supply trained colunteers with monitiroing equipment.
Anybody interested in becoming a River Monitor should contact either
Angus Menzies at Dorset Wildlife Trust 01305 261 687 or firstname.lastname@example.org