Anglers’ Riverfly Monitoring Initiative
River invertebrate monitoring for anglers is an angler-lead initiative, spearheaded by the Riverfly Partnership, which ensures that angling groups can take action to monitor and thereby help to conserve the river environment. Anglers, as guardians of the river environment, are in an ideal position to monitor the health of the water course they fish by monitoring the river-flies they aim to imitate with artificial flies.
Angling organisations are encouraged to establish monitoring groups that share the responsibility of sampling their chosen river-sites on a regular basis using a simple standardised methodology. Material is collected from the sample-site in the river from which eight groups of invertebrates are identified and counted. Collecting and recording can be completed within an hour.
SADAC is an active participant in this scheme and we have 26 established sites for monitoring. We are fortunate to have Dr Cyril Bennett (MBE) who was one of the original founders of this initiative to lead our monitoring. We have established a hub and are continuing to train monitors for our club, and other organisations, using our Cart Shed premises as the centre.
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 on a monthly basis provides seasonal base-line data from which severe changes in water quality can easily be identified.
We have strong links with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust , with whom we share the data and we are researching a project to map individual species of invertebrates within our rivers. This would be a major undertaking but would be unique.