River Invertebrate Monitoring
In a healthy river most of the pollution sensitive invertebrates should be present. Declines in water quality are reflected in declines in the abundance and number of different invertebrates present. Monitoring of river invertebrates on a regular basis can help to detect changes in water quality and enable action to be taken at the earliest opportunity should any severe perturbations be detected.
The member Rivers Trusts within Afonydd Cymru all have trained teams of volunteer monitors who are committed to undertaking the regular surveying and monitoring of river invertebrates at specific sites along the rivers in their Trust areas.
The volunteer monitors have been trained under the “River Invertebrate Monitoring for Anglers” initiative which is spearheaded by The Riverfly Partnership.
This angler-driven monitoring scheme is used alongside the routine monitoring carried out by the Environment Agency, and it helps to ensure that angling groups can take action to monitor and thereby help conserve the river environment.
Within each Rivers Trust a Monitoring Group has been set up that shares the responsibility of sampling their chosen river on a regular basis. Using a simple, standardised methodology, material is collected from a sample site in the river from which eight groups of invertebrates are identified and counted. The data collected is shared with the Environment Agency (EA).
The monitoring scheme ensures that the biological water quality is checked more frequently and widely and enables early action to be taken by the EA should problems be identified. The data provides a seasonal baseline of the biological quality of the water course which can be used to monitor changes.
Between the five member Rivers Trusts there are more than a 100 volunteer monitors involved in undertaking regular invertebrate surveys on their rivers.