Wednesday 25 June 2014
Over 20 people were trained in June in monitoring riverflies, as a method for assessing the health of a chalk stream. Workshops were held on the River Chess and the River Mimram, and the attendees included volunteers from conservation groups on the Chess, Wye and Mimram and volunteers and staff from the Wild Trout Trust.
The Chilterns and Hertfordshire Riverfly Hub has recently been set up by the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project and the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, as part of the national Riverfly Initiative established by the Riverfly Partnership. The Partnership is a large group representing anglers, conservationists, scientists, water course managers and relevant authorities who are working together to protect the water quality of rivers and conserve the habitats essential for riverfly populations.
Riverflies include mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies and they are a crucial part of the freshwater ecosystem. They spend most of their lives as larvae on the riverbed and emerge, mostly in spring and summer, as short-lived adult flies, often en masse. Their numbers and diversity provide a clear picture of the water quality in a river and the health of its ecosystem. Regular monthly monitoring of riverflies is a good way of keeping a check on the river's status and will quickly show up any pollution incidents that have occurred.
The Partnership is keen to increase the number of groups carrying out riverfly monitoring on their local river and to increase the number of people who can train others in the monitoring techniques. The Chilterns and Hertfordshire Riverfly Hub is planning more workshops this year with the next one taking place in September. Contact Allen Beechey (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.