The Rother Riverfly Scheme was set up in June 2015 to provide training to volunteers to monitor the health of rivers and streams in the Western Rother catchment and beyond.
Regular water quality monitoring is the best way of determining the overall health of our rivers and streams. Data can be used to establish a baseline of water quality or to identify pollution problems. Because of their sensitivity to pollution, surveying for riverflies (freshwater invertebrates) is an ideal water quality monitoring technique.
The survey work involves pairs of volunteers collecting samples from the riverbed each month using a technique called ‘kick sampling’ and recording the presence and abundance of eight riverfly groups. Full training is provided and expenses covered. This project is being delivered by a partnership of organisations, led by the Arun & Rother Rivers Trust.
• Riverflies such as mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies live most of their lives as larvae in the riverbed before emerging as adult flies.
• They are good indicators of environmental health as they are sensitive to changes in water quality.
• Over the last few decades, there has been a widespread decline in riverfly populations in many of our rivers.
Image: Ephemera danica © Stan Maddams