Volunteers learning how to sample invertebrates, a technique used during riverblitz events

RiverBlitz events- A citizen science approach

What are RiverBlitz events?

RiverBlitz events are one off, one day events where citizen scientists join together to collect information about water quality and biodiversity within a small area. The aim is to collect as much valuable data as possible. In particular, we focus on areas where there are gaps in knowledge, to help guide our future work to improve the health of rivers.

Some of the equipment used during a riverblitz

Why do a RiverBlitz?

The RiverBlitz approach allows us to record the biology and chemistry of rivers, while benefitting from local knowledge provided by local citizen scientists. By sampling in small groups across an area on the same day, we can get a snapshot of water quality. This helps us to better identify issues within the area that may be impacting river health. As a citizen scientist, you will be taking action to benefit the rivers and streams that you love


Ribble Rivers Trust is part of the North West demonstration for ‘Catchment Systems Thinking Cooperative’ (CaSTCo), a 3-year innovation led by the national Rivers Trust and funded by Ofwat. CaSTCo aims to make sure that people count at the heart of rivers’ recovery. As part of this we work to connect people with their rivers through data collection and sharing

How do we do it?

During RiverBlitz events, citizen scientists work together in groups to collect information about three key features in the river: biodiversity, water chemistry, and habitat. Firstly, for biodiversity, we look at what lives in the water, like insects, snails and crustaceans. Secondly, for water chemistry, we collect samples and test them for chemicals called phosphates and nitrates, which affect water quality. Finally, for habitat, we carry out simple assessments to record how natural the river bank, bed, and plant life is. Together this builds a complete picture of the health of a river.

Some frequently found species

The results so far

After each RiverBlitz our team take all the data and evidence we gather, input it into our huge database, and analyse the results. Then we create a summary which we share with all of the days participants, so they can see what we found and, more importantly, what this means! You can view the results of previous RiverBlitz’ here:

Can I get involved in riverblitz events?

Yes! You do not need any special skills to get involved with a RiverBlitz, just a keen interest in helping our rivers. We run theses events with a trained ’Blitz Squad’. These are people who pair up with newer citizen scientists to help guide them on the day. Ribble Rivers Trust will also be on hand to support you. Simply contact us to express your interest.

Citizen scientists sample waters for invertebrates

Join the Blitz Squad!

If you are passionate about river health, and want to hone your skills as a citizen scientist, you can elect to join the Blitz Squad, and take a lead on data collection at RiverBlitz events. We can provide you with all the training, resources and support needed. Contact us to find out more.