A mobile App that gets to the heart of river pollution

Developed by Salmon & Trout Conservation UK (S&TC UK) in conjunction with Salisbury & District Angling Club

The national 2015 Riverfly Census carried out by Salmon & Trout Conservation UK, which identified many of the current woes affecting some of our precious rivers and chalkstreams has led to the development of an innovative mobile phone App, which will help users to monitor invertebrate populations in their own rivers and help to identify pollution threats.

Developed by Salmon & Trout Conservation UK (S&TC UK) in conjunction with Salisbury & District Angling Club, this highly specialised new App uses high quality digital images provided by Dr Cyril Bennett MBE.

The App provides an interactive visual guide to help identify river invertebrate larvae.  Best viewed on a tablet, the App shows easily identifiable features for each species, plus its pollution fingerprint and conservation value.  It also identifies the sensitivity of individual species to particular stresses such as siltation, phosphates, organic pollutions and flow. Their presence or absence is a clear indication of water quality.”

Nick Measham, author of the S&TC UK’s 2015 Riverfly Census said, “The Census has made anglers sit up and think about riverflies, the life blood of our rivers. The App allows them to act. The Census covered 12 rivers and we aim to grow it over 2016 and 2017 to 24 rivers. But this is a fraction of what needs to be done. Working with us, App users will be able to profile many, many more rivers. The App will allow all who care about our rivers to analyse riverflies to species level to give real insight into what is going on.”

Dr Cyril Bennett MBE, said, “If we are going to look after our rivers then we need to do it ourselves and to do that we have to know our bit of river better than anyone else.  Being able to identify and record the invertebrate species expected at our site enables us to keep a closer watch on water quality.”

The App is available to purchase by all those with an interest in the status of our rivers, particularly those keen to undertake more detailed studies relating to river invertebrates and the specific threats they face through human pressures.   However, to ensure robustness of data and to comply with the overall ethos of the Riverfly Census, training of monitors and initial benchmarking of the river is essential.

Andreas Topintzis from Salisbury & District Angling Club, said, “The App development is a big milestone for our club. Together with the species identification course and subsequent benchmarking of our rivers, it has enabled our club to understand much better the current state of the fly populations and hence the quality of the waters we fish. It is a powerful tool which can be used to drive evidence based conversations, versus opinions. We see it as an absolute must for clubs, syndicates, riparian owners and all those who care about their waters.”

The cost of the App is £29.99 and is available for both Android and Apple devices and can be downloaded from the special website together with information on river profiling and details of training courses.  More information can be obtained from: www.riverinvertebratelarvae.co.uk