A riverfly monitoring group on the River Kennet (a chalk stream tributary of the River Thames) was first to detect the effects of a pesticide making its way into the river. Action for the River Kennet (ARK) volunteers noticed a change in the appearance of the water at their monitoring site, and a huge decrease in the number of invertebrates in their kick samples. They were able to alert the Environment Agency, which investigated further and found that the loss of invertebrates was a result of the highly toxic pesticide ‘chlorpyrifos’ passing through a sewage treatment works. The pesticide wiped out the bottom of the food chain and left fish and birds with little to eat, which is a serious worry for many river users. ARK will now be working with the Savernake Flyfishers and other river interest groups to help to restore the riverfly population.
This is a great encouragement to all of us involved in the CRIMP initiative, carrying out the riverfly monitoring across the Clyde system – our citizen science can make a difference!
These articles by Action for the River Kennet (ARK) and the BBC provide more detail: