Citizen science acitivities
Riverfly monitoring is the most widely adopted aquatic citizen science scheme in the UK. Over 3,000 volunteers are actively involved through a network of organisations (c. 180 in total) that includes angling clubs, conservation groups, water course managers, scientists, environmental charities and government agencies.
The Riverfly Partnership have several citizen science activities. These include the Anglers’ Riverfly Monitoring Imitative (ARMI) and the Extended and Urban Riverflies.
- ARMI can be considered as the Riverfly Partnerships’ leading citizen science project, and involves volunteers recording the presence and abundance of riverflies sensitive to pollution. Riverfly volunteers are trained to distinguish eight groups of riverflies based on distinguishing features, e.g. the presence and number of tails and pairs of legs, appearance of gills etc.
- The Extended and Urban Riverfly projects build upon the ARMI methodology. These alternative methods require volunteers to monitor an increased number of riverfly groups. The Extended Riverfly provides greater sensitivity and evaluation of pressures from drought, abstraction and sediment accumulation. Urban Riverfly incorporates additional species that can tolerate the higher levels of pollution associated with urban rivers, e.g. snails, beetles, leeches and worms, providing a better understanding of the health of urban rivers.
Local community groups such as anglers are often seen as natural guardians of the river environment, and are ideally placed to monitor the health of rivers. The Riverfly project helps to raise awareness of the issues associated with river water quality, and identify pollution events promptly so that their impact can be minimised. Long-term monitoring data also contributes to identifying suitable sites for restoration, and assessing the success of restoration schemes following their completion. Citizen science activities through Riverfly monitoring therefore have both immediate and longer-term impacts for the environment and society. MICS aims to capture the impacts of these citizen science activities in the UK.
You can find more details and regular updates on the Riverfly citizen science activities here: https://www.riverflies.org