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FreshWater Watch: Riverfly on the Esk Community Group

Hear from Rebecca Lewis who set up the Riverfly on the Esk FreshWater Watch Community Group. FreshWater Watch is the citizen science programme from Earthwatch Europe that engages citizen scientists to monitor the water quality of rivers, lakes, reservoirs and wetlands around the world.

Please tell us more about your group  

Riverfly on the Esk is a Citizen Science project launched in July 2017, located on the Lothian Esk, Midlothian and East Lothian. It joins a nationwide network of Riverfly Partnership groups across the UK, monitoring freshwater invertebrates (Riverfly) as indicators of river health. This project is run entirely by the local community supported by experts and local partners. It has grown from six to 26 Riverfly Partnership-trained river monitors, who carry out monthly sampling of nine sites, located along the North, South and Lothian Stretch of the Lothian Esk. Training is offered by a member of the team who is a qualified Riverfly Partnership trainer. Membership is open to all members of the community. Training is delivered free of charge and we also run outreach workshops to local schools and community groups. 

What kind of water quality issues are you facing in your catchment area? 

The river is impacted by minewater, sewage agricultural and road runoff. 

Why did you choose to get involved in the FreshWater Watch project? 

After three years of monitoring the macroinvertebrates, we were interested to see how this related to the water quality. 

What does your community group hope to achieve for your catchment area? What activities are you planning, and how will FreshWater Watch help with them?

We hope to add to a baseline of data that can be used by the environment agencies to help make a positive difference to the river. We also want to increase knowledge and understanding of the river ecology in the community. 

If you are interested in joining an existing FreshWater Watch group in your local area or setting up your own, there is more information on our website.




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