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River Fly Monitoring Begins

Jun 15, 2010

Category: Water Quality
Posted by: Kathryn

Four RCA volunteers are now qualified fly monitors and will be undertaking monthly monitoring at 10 sites along the length of the river from Chesham to Rickmansworth. The volunteers were trained at a course held at Leckford and run by the Riverfly Partnership.

The purpose of fly monitoring is to regularly assess the biological water quality of the Chess by monitoring the populations of a variety of fly types with differing sensitivities to pollution. The monitoring will detect severe fluctuations in water quality and enable the RCA to report these incidences to the Environment Agency for investigation. Such schemes are already operating on other rivers in England and have led to successful prosecutions of pollutors.

The sites along the Chess have been carefully selected to assess the impact of factors on the river’s water quality, such as sewage treatment works' outfalls and road run-off.

The Chilterns Chalk Streams Project funded the fly monitoring training and equipment.  The RCA is also looking into the use of a solar-powered data logger on loan from Queen Mary University, to monitor other water quality parameters at the outfall from the sewage treatment works.

RCA will be making its river fly data available to the Environment Agency and Thames Water, as part of its collaborative approach to dealing with water quality issues on the Chess.