As the Riverfly Hub for the Bristol Avon catchment, BART is responsible for recruiting and training new volunteers as Riverfly monitors. This is part of the Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) run by the Riverfly Partnership, which enables anglers and other interested groups and individuals to actively monitor and protect their local rivers. This is a national scheme, and the more people we have out monitoring our rivers, the more pollution incidents are identified and reported.
BART runs the training sessions during spring and early summer, and this year was no exception with alomst 50 new volunteers trained as monitors!
We ran training sessions in Lacock, Batheaston, Freshford and Chew Magna which were all booked up with keen volunteers, all very interested in looking after their local rivers and learning more about river invetebrate species.
The ARMI monitoring technique involves volunteers taking 3-minute kick samples from the river bed each month, and recording the presence and abundance of eight pollution-sensitive invertebrate groups. The focus of the sampling is on ‘riverflies’ – mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies. If invertebrate numbers drop below a ‘Trigger level’ (expected population abundances), the Environment Agency is notified so that the problem can be identified and action taken.
Monitors upload their results to the Riverfly database, and can track their surveys results over time. The Riverfly data held by each river group will also allow for long-term changes to be identified and will therefore help us to get a better understanding of invertebrate populations.
ARMI is already used widely in the UK as a ‘neighbourhood watch’ for rivers, practiced by anglers, community groups and individuals with an interest in their local river. It has proven effective in identifying pollution incidents and ensuring action is taken, and ensures that rivers are monitored more widely and more regularly than is possible for the Environment Agency to do alone.
Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered and was trained as a Riverfly Monitor this year. We really appreciate your dedication and are really grateful for all the valuable data you record…keep it up!
Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All programme for funding the 2017 training sessions.