ready for riverfly

On a beautiful spring day in April we held our first Riverfly training event, exploring the invertebrate life of the River Bovey. Fourteen very enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers have signed up to take part in this monitoring initiative, and this training day provided an opportunity for everyone to get hands-on and see what sort of life could be found in the river.

The Riverfly Monitoring Initiative is a nationwide scheme that monitors aquatic invertebrates as a way of measuring the health of a river – the inverts, or lack of, can tell us lots about how clean a river is, and helps us to pick up on any pollution incidents aswell. The volunteers will be the eyes and ears of the river, and as they sample their particular sites on a regular basis, they will get to know what looks good and what doesn’t. The Riverfly sites extend all the way up the Teign catchment and include the River Bovey, and these volunteers are joining an existing group of Riverfly volunteers, meaning we now have a veritable army of some 22 volunteers. Great news for the Teign!

The Riverfly volunteers will be carrying out surveys in May, July and September (we avoid the winter months so that we don’t disturb spawning grounds), and all of the data is fed into a central database. An annual report is produced, this not only helps inform us on the Teign, but feeds into the national picture on the health of our rivers.

We are so grateful to all of those who are taking part in this scheme, and hope that they enjoy many happy hours at the riverside. We’re also very grateful to Fred Leach for providing the training for us, and to the Riverfly Co-ordinator on the Teign, Mick McGee, for all of his time and support.

To top off our training day, we were absolutely delighted to find this salmon fry in our sample – this fry will be feeding on the sort of insects you can see in this tray (mayflies, stoneflies and caddis flies can all be seen in this picture) and will remain in the river for at least two years before making its way out to sea. Survival chances are slim for Atlantic Salmon, so we popped this little one back into the river and wished it well on its long journey.

If you would like to know more about Riverfly, please get in touch with us as we are always happy to have more volunteers join us.