"A Clear Future for our River"

Research

BART help to develop new app on river health

BART have recently been helping a local company called Epimorphics to gain an understanding of how best to display river health data for use by conservationists and members of the public. Mihajlo kindly wrote us a piece on the project below with some helpful links with details of the app:

My name is Mihajlo Milosavljevic, I am an intern at the company called Epimorphics working on the development of an android application called myRivers.
myRivers is a simple way of browsing detailed river pollution reports in the UK. It provides users with three map layers all showcasing a different dataset provided by the Environment Agency. Three layers include reports of river catchment quality, water quality and pollution discharge permits.
Throughout the project we have benefited enormous support from BART Project Officers. During our meetings with their team we have managed to gather valuable domain specific feedback which made a big impact to the design and functionality of the application. Out main goal was development of a tool that can be useful to anyone interested in the quality of the UK rivers but also a tool that provides detailed reports that can be found useful by the experts in this area such as the members of the Rivers Trust. The application is now available on the Google Play Store and can also be found using this link.

myRivers can be downloaded from the Google app store from the link in the above quote.

Thanks to the Mihajlo and the Epimorphics team for their hard work in making river health data more accessible!

Citizen science monitoring resources

Thank you so much to everyone who has taken part in our Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership funded Freshwater Watch citizen science project over the last year, from those of you who sampled during the one week Waterblitz, to those farmers, community groups, schools and Riverfly monitors who sampled throughout the year. We have received an amazing amount of data on phosphates and nitrates (over 450 samples!) and we couldn’t have collected all of this without you. We will be analysing the data as soon as we receive it all, so watch this space to find out the results!

Thanks to all of our volunteers for their water quality monitoring efforts

Unfortunately we have now run out of test kits so are unable to provide anymore until we can find another funder to continue the project. We are still getting a number of requests from landowners, fishing clubs and individuals to monitor which is fantastic and if you are interested in doing your own monitoring, we recommend taking a look at the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) Citizen Science and Volunteering Monitoring Resources document here. It details some of the most recommended kits looking at a variety of water quality variables including oxygen concentration, phosphates and nitrates and many others.

An example of some of the monitoring kits recommended by CaBA and reviewed by several Rivers Trusts around the country.

If you are a community group or club, BART may be able to help you raise funds in order to purchase monitoring equipment. Do get in touch with our Project Manager if this is an opportunity you would like us to explore – harriet@bristolavonriverstrust.org

 

 

Fish population survey reports

The local Environment Agency team have recently published their fish population reports for the Bristol Avon catchment 2016, assessing the health of our rivers to inform future management.

Click below to read the reports:

Bristol Avon – fish population survey report

Bristol Avon – Wild Brown Trout population survey report

River Chew – fish population survey report

Somerset Frome – fish population survey report

 

 

Somerset Frome Sediment Pathways Project

BART have completed a very interesting and useful project funded by the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership this Spring.

Sediment entering watercourses can have a detrimental effect on aquatic ecology, including fish and invertebrates.  This project has used predominantly field surveys to identify where sediment is entering watercourses in the upper Somerset Frome catchment and to determine the sources of this sediment.

The survey period of the project drew to a close at the end of March, with over 191 locations visited on the upper Somerset Frome looking for potential sediment pathways. Sediment pathways have been recorded at over 110 locations on the main river Frome and its tributaries including Redford Water, the Rodden Brook and the Marston Brook. At each location the source of the sediment pathway has been determined where possible and a diffuse pollution grade has been allocated to identify the severity of the pollution pathway.  Photo 1 shows an example of sediment entering the Rodden brook via a pipe during a wet weather event.

1. Pipe discharging into the Rodden Brook

The most common, and sometimes very severe pollution pathways seen as part of this project have included poaching and trampling by cattle and horses (photo 2), muddy farm tracks, gateways and yards, maize grown to the edge of watercourses with very little buffer zone (photo 3), discharging pipes and road run off. The most severe pollution pathways have been re-visited during or shortly after heavy rain to collect further evidence.

 

2. Poaching and soil compaction

3. Lack of buffer alongside a maize field resulting in run-off into the Rodden Brook

Alongside the field surveys the Somerset Frome project included a public engagement campaign to increase local awareness of the issues surrounding erosion risk and diffuse pollution and to build stronger relationships with the landowners surrounding the river Frome. As part of this work a farmers’ lunch was held on 9th March 2017 in the upper Frome area. This lunch brought together local farmers, BART and Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) to discuss sediment pathway issues in the catchment and to encourage partnership work in the future.

Thank you to all interested individuals and organisations who have been involved in the project and sent in information to help us prioritise areas to visit.

The report is now available to view but is too large to host on the website. If you would like a copy then please email our Project Officer Harriet at harriet@bristolavonriverstrust.org

We are really keen to continue work with the very helpful landowners in this area and to help take the actions necessary to remove some of the problems we spotted. Many are potentially small and low cost but would add up to a significant decrease in sediment entering the river if they are fixed. We are currently seeking funding to make this happen. ​

Duchy of Cornwall river surveys

BART have been busy over the last few months undertaking a variety of river surveys on Duchy of Cornwall estate land near to Bath, including:

  • In-stream and riparian habitat surveys
  • Surrounding land use investigations to assess impacts on water quality.
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Macroinvertebrate surveys
  • Macrophyte surveys
  • Riparian tree surveys

BART’s Aquatic Scientist Jess running water quality tests with BART volunteer Jenny.

Findings from these surveys will be used to create recommendations for improvement works to both in-stream habitats and surrounding land use.

Assessing land use, riparian shading and other factors on the Corston and Newton Brooks.

We are grateful to the Duchy Estate for supporting us in this research and for their enthusiasm to protect our rivers.

BART are able to complete these and a number of other types of surveys throughout the Catchment. If you own or rent land with a river or stream, please feel free to get in contact if you would like to arrange a site visit and/or discuss survey and improvement opportunities by emailing harriet@bristolavonriverstrust.org