This Riverfly Monitoring Initiative is a citizen science initiative which works with community groups and others, in partnership with the relevant statutory body in Northern Ireland. Community volunteers are trained to monitor eight groups of freshwater invertebrates on a monthly basis to check for severe changes in water quality, i.e. pollution incidents.
The purpose of this project is to measure the health of the rivers in the Ring of Gullion by taking regular samples of invertebrates at specific sites and look for variations in results.
Invertebrates are the most useful available indicators of this. They are generally at the bottom end of the food chain, meaning that most fish, birds and mammals rely on a healthy population of invertebrates for their survival. Many invertebrates are also particularly sensitive to pollution, and these are the ones that will be researched in this monitoring programme.
No previous experience is required to become a monitor. Training is provided by the River Fly Partnership and consists of a one day workshop where participants are shown how to identify eight key species, undertake a kick sample and a stone washing sample in the morning session.
The afternoon is taken up with a visit to the river to collect, classify and record a sample. The emphasis is on consistency so every pair of monitors in the country is working in the same way.
Once trained, monitors are expected to undertake one sample in the same place at least every two months (excluding spawning times and high waters). On completion of training, monitoring equipment is provided, plus an illustrated guide to the key species.
More details on this national initiative can be found at: www.riverflies.org/rp.riverfly-monitoringinitiative.
Book your space below for this valuable training.
The monitoring programme is part of the on-going conservation work being undertaken by the Ring of Gullion AONB and Landscape Partnership in its bid to improve the overall river environment in the area.
The training will be provided in partnership with the Ballinderry Rivers Trust, the Riverfly Partnership and Northern Ireland Environment Agency. This training is free and supported by Newry Mourne and Down District Council, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
There is also a useful video of monitors being trained below:
To find out more about the water quality of the rivers of the area, download from below.