Guardians of our rivers

£10,000 awarded

The current biodiversity crisis means that up to 41% of invertebrates face extinction worldwide over the coming decades.  Freshwater covers just 1% of the planet surface yet hosts almost 10% of known species.  Freshwater living invertebrates help maintain clean water, break down & filter organic matter & provide a food source for other wildlife.  Long-term monitoring of rivers provides vital, up to date information about how species are faring, how healthy the rivers & streams are & if any changes are required in the surrounding habitat (eg, riparian tree planting to increase cooling in the water to help protect against the threats of climate change).  Riverflies are an ideal group of animals to use for monitoring river health as they are a vital link in the aquatic food chain & are affected by many factors, predominately water quality, level & flow rate & habitat diversity.  Their limited mobility, relatively long-life cycle, presence throughout the year & specific tolerances to changes in environmental conditions make them powerful biological indicators to monitor water quality.  Citizen science is a cost-effective way for this monitoring & this grant will help to fund year 1 of a dedicated conservation officer  to recruit, train & support a minimum of 4 groups in the highlands.