Councillor Naomi Bailie, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is calling for volunteers to join the new Ring of Gullion Riverfly Monitoring Project. Training for the project will take place on Monday 27th July in Crossmaglen Community Centre at 10.00am. Booking is through the Ring of Gullion website www.ringofgullion.org. Taking part in the project will involve monthly surveying using a three-minute health check with riverflies as a barometer for water quality examining the abundance of pollution sensitive riverfly larvae.
The Ring of Gullion has joined a national scheme, The Riverfly Partnership, to monitor water quality in the area’s rivers. Volunteers will be trained how to sample and identify the invertebrate life present in the gravel and silt on the river bed. Many of these tiny creatures are sensitive to pollution so their presence and numbers help indicate the quality of the water.
The project will enable statutory bodies such as the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to respond quickly to sudden, severe water quality issues such as pesticide spills. Frequent sampling also acts as a neighbourhood river watch scheme deterring would-be polluters. In addition to helping address actute pollutions events, volunteers will also have the potential to make a significant contribution to long term plans, for example local delivery of Water Framework Directive outcomes.
Councillor Naomi Bailie, said “Community members are river custodians, they have a unique knowledge of their local rivers, and using a robust scientific health check their expertise can make a real, noticeable difference to how we monitor river quality. Healthy riverfly populations are a sure sign of healthy rivers, which means better water quality for everyone.”
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.
If you would like to get involved in the training, book your place through the website www.ringofgullion.org or call into the office in Crossmaglen Community Centre, O’Fiaich Square, Crossmaglen, BT35 9AA Tel:-(028) 3082 8590.
To find out more about the National Riverfly Partnership click here.