How Clean is Your River?: Become a Citizen Science Volunteer!

The cleanliness of our rivers is at the forefront of WI members’ minds as we enter the run-up to our Resolution Roadshow meetings, your WI May resolutions meetings and the NFWI Annual Meeting in Cardiff. Those of you who would like to get involved directly, might like to read the following, from Climate Ambassador Mary Lindsey:

Rivers sustain life – not just wildlife – we also depend on them for our water. Rivers also provide us with recreation and well-being, but rivers are in trouble because of pollution and climate change. Even those who do not want to swim in their local rivers still want them to be fresh, clean and full of wildlife but sadly in many rivers this is no longer the case.

Two of our Cornwall Climate Ambassadors, Carol Matta and Mary Lindsey, recently attended a day in Wadebridge ‘Making Cornish Rivers Better’ and learnt about the action that is being taken by West Country Rivers Trust, South West Water and the Environment Agency to achieve this.

One very clear message was that the Environment Agency do not have the resources to monitor all the rivers and can mainly only deal with major pollution threats. They need help from citizen science volunteers if they are to learn about the overall state of our rivers and the areas where intervention is needed most.

Citizen science sounded rather daunting until there was a hands-on demonstration of what is involved. It’s easy and doesn’t take much time at all! You do not even get your feet wet and you can enjoy a lovely walk and chance to observe nature. A few tests on a bucket of water, taken from a few sites each month and some data entry is all that is involved. All the equipment and training is provided by the West Country Rivers Trust. If you want to do more, then you can jump in, with steel-toed waders, and collect and sort creatures from the river bed with some amazing results but this is an optional extra! The collected data provides a timeline of the state of the river against which changes can be detected and problems noticed and the Environment Agency can link this data to other information about the river in order to decide any action that they need to take.

If you or your WI are interested in protecting your local river by becoming Citizen Science volunteers, click here.


Posted in Uncategorized.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *