Learn how to check a river's health

Monday 10 October 2016

If you're interested in wildlife and enjoy paddling around in rivers there is a great opportunity on offer to get actively involved in monitoring the health of our local streams and rivers.

It can be hard to tell sometimes if a river is in good health just by looking at it. It is possible though that it may have suffered a recent pollution incident - sewage overflow for example - which has wiped out some of the crucial invertebrate species in that stretch. These invertebrates include the riverflies, which spend most of their lives beneath the water as larvae, and emerge to spend a brief time as adult flies. Mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies are among the most common riverflies and they are an important source of food for other wildlife. Their sensitivity to pollution means that they form an ideal set of 'indicator' species. Regular monitoring of the numbers and diversity of riverflies is an excellent way to detect pollution incidents that might otherwise not get picked up.

Concerns about the health of rivers amongst conservation and angling groups has led to the development of a simple and robust technique for monitoring riverflies. This technique can be picked up by an interested amateur in a single day's training and could lead to the opportunity to keep tabs on the state of your local river by regularly monitoring a stretch of it.

The Chilterns, Herts and Middlesex Riverfly Hub is running 2 training courses this Saturday 15th October in riverfly monitoring. One is taking place at Chenies Manor on the River Chess near Amersham. A second course will run (if there is sufficient demand) at Digswell on the River Mimram near Welwyn Garden City.

Each course will start at 10am and will finish around 4.30pm.  The course fee is £35 which includes the day's training, provision of an information pack and light refreshments (you will need to bring a packed lunch). To book a place or to get further information, e-mail riverflies@hmwt.org  now.  Please indicate which venue you would prefer to attend but please note that the second course at Digswell will only run if there is sufficient demand for two courses. 



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