Riverfly Monitoring

What is the Riverfly Monitoring Initiative?

The Riverfly Monitoring Initiative is a network of volunteers who have been trained by the Ribble Rivers Trust to test water quality by monitoring invertebrate levels. This is done by visiting an allocated site monthly, carrying out a kick sample, recording the findings and then sending the data back to us. The initiative first started in 2008 and we now have over one hundred monitoring sites!

The map below shows all our sites in the catchment. Simply click on a site and the results are displayed.

Why is this monitoring important?

The data our monitors provide us with is a valuable tool which enables us to regularly check and track the rivers health. Invertebrates require clean water and cannot tolerate pollution so by looking at the number of invertebrates in the water we can judge how clean that water is.

If the numbers of invertebrates were to drop or remained consistently lower than predicted we can try to pinpoint the approximate time, location and cause of this drop and flag up any potential issues. In the long term this data also helps us to plan future projects and shows us which areas of the catchment need our help the most.

How can I help?

Throughout the year Ribble Rivers Trust run workshops alongside the Riverfly Partnership; these one day workshops give volunteers all the advice and training required in order to safety and effectively monitor river health.

Topics covered include how the scheme works, health and safety and in depth information about the life cycle and ecology of our target species: the up-winged flies, caddisflies or sedges, stoneflies and freshwater shrimp (Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera, Plecoptera, and Gammarus).

As part of the training you’ll also be taken down to our local stretch of the Ribble to be given the chance to perfect your practical skills and take a sample before heading back up the office to identify your findings.

Following this you will be equipped with all the equipment required, awarded a certificate and allocated a site of your choice. Once the course is finished you will be given support by the Trust who will be on hand to provide refreshers, help and guidance. All we ask is that you visit your site once a month for six months of the year and send us your findings.

If you would like to join us on our next workshop you can register you interest by emailing admin@ribbletrust.com.