We recently received this appeal from David Bryan who is Secretary of the West Yorkshire branch of the Salmon and Trout Association; we are keen to get involved by providing both volunteers from our membership, and sampling sites on our river lengths.
You can find out a lot more about this fascinating and valuable project at www.riverflies.org.
If you think that you’d like to spend a day learning a lot more about what’s in our rivers, and are willing to participate in the project by providing sample data on a regular basis, then drop me a line or give me a call. You don’t need to be a member of the club or even an angler – if you’re interested please let me know.
The Salmon and Trout Association (S &TA) is the lead organisation in the Riverfly Partnership (sometimes referred to as the Anglers Monitoring Initiative (AMI)) and in 2010 the West Yorkshire Branch of the S & TA established a number of sampling sites on the River Wharfe from Huby upstream.
The object of this project is to sample the river insect population on a regular basis using approved scientific methods to identify the abundance of specific species known to be particularly sensitive to varying degrees of water quality. The resultant data is fed via a local coordinator to the Environmental Agency and similar interested bodies who can then quickly identify potential incidences of pollution and take action before irreparable damage is done to the fish stock. General trends and population changes in invertebrates are also monitored – not necessarily pollution related – may be to do with cleaner water, flow volatility fluctuations, climate change and so on.
Unfortunately the River Wharfe below Huby and the whole of the River Aire system are almost the only two catchments in the UK that do not have any established sampling sites.
This branch of the S & TA, in cooperation with the Aire River Trust, the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust and the River Wharfe Anglers Association is now looking to rectify this omission. Would you please help us to do so by making your members aware of the opportunity to learn something of the unseen but vital fly life of our rivers and to contribute, in an enjoyable and exciting way, to the well-being of the fishing we all love irrespective of the fact that our interest may be in coarse fishing or game fishing?
Initially we are looking for people who are prepared to undertake a one-day training course and then spend a couple of hours a month in obtaining samples using strict scientific methods and recording their findings to pass on to the coordinator for the area who will then liaise with the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency will set insect population levels for each sampling site which trigger a warning of a potential pollution incident and action will then be taken to rectify the problem. The data obtained from sampling sites will also be part of a nationwide databank and help to fine tune research as well as assist the United Kingdom to meet Water Framework Directive criteria.
Initially I would like to build up a list of contact details of anybody interested in this exciting work and need a minimum of about 14 people who will commit themselves to training and sampling. Once this is to hand we can then obtain funding and set a timetable for the training programme. I would emphasise that all training will be free and the necessary equipment will be provided on permanent loan to a representative of each sampling team.