Riverflies, together with many other freshwater invertebrates, form an important link in the aquatic food chain. They have a fairly long life cycle in relation to other species, have limited mobility and are very sensitive to changes in water quality. The Anglers' Riverfly Monitoring Initiative was launched in 2007 and now know as The Riverfly Partnership, links like minded groups in a network dedicated to protecting water quality, furthering understanding of riverfly populations and the conservation of their habitat.

 

With a view to monitoring water quality in Midgelden Brook both above and below the water treatment work, Nettie and Wal have attended a training workshop provided by The Riverfly Partnership in conjunction with The Calder & Colne Rivers Trust. A sampling area was agreed and the series of images below put the site into context and show where samples will be taken.

 

 

In order to carry out sampling, there are many Health and Safety considerations that must be taken into account. Risk assessments for the sampling activities have been carried out by The Riverfly Partnership and these were discussed and distributed as part of our training course. Not only are there risks to the persons carrying out the sampling, but there is much harm that can be done to the environment if the sampling activities are not carried out according to strict guidelines. Damage to the environment and to your personal health is not always immediately obvious. Indeed, some of the infections it is possible to pick up from water or insect bites may not become apparent for several months after the event. As some of these diseases can be fatal if untreated, it is vital that you are on your guard if working around water.

We were provided with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) appropriate to the task and also, standardized equipment to be used for the sampling. Results from sampling are useless if everyone involved is not using the same equipment and techniques. We were taught a standard technique to use as well as permitted deviation from those techniques to account for variations in the water course being sampled. Any modification of the standard techniques has to be recorded with the results and once a method had been determined for a particular site, it must be repeated for every sampling session, otherwise there can be no comparison of results.