Thursday, 28 July 2011

Salford Friendly Anglers Monitoring Initiative

Saturday the 23rd July was the first training day for our new Anglers Monitoring Initiative (AMI) on the River Irwell . 12 of us took part - and we had a great day.
What is an Anglers Monitoring Initiative?
An AMI is an initiative which is spearheaded by The Riverfly Partnership where anglers form a co-ordinated group to collect invertebrate samples from the river and use the data collected to monitor and thereby help conserve the river environment.
Anglers as "guardians of the river environment" are in an ideal position to monitor the health of the river we fish - especially on a river such as the Irwell which is disregarded by many locals as a leisure facility.
Whats Involved?
We have identified a number of strategically important sites along the river and we will monitor insect and invertebrate numbers on a monthly basis at these points to form an overall picture of the rivers health. Each sample takes about half an hour to collect so we have recently trained 12 of our members to carry out these samples on a training day held up at Burrs Country Park - training provided by Louis Kitchen from the Riverfly Partnership.

Our data is being collected by members of the Salford Friendly Anglers Society, but is then being utilised as part of ongoing research by Dr Adam Moolna of Manchester University and also by the Environment Agency.
What do invertebrates tell us about the river?
In a healthy river most of the pollution sensitive invertebrates should be present. Declines in water quality are reflected in the declines in abundance and numbers of different invertebrates present as some are more pollution tolerant/intolerant than others. Monitoring on a monthly basis provides seasonal baseline data from which severe changes in water quality can be easily identified.
What happens if there is a decline in water quality?
All of our monitoring sites are registered with the Environment Agency, and the EA set trigger levels in the numbers of invertebrate populations which indicate severe decreases in water quality. Our AMI has been given a call in procedure which will allow early action to be taken by the EA should set trigger levels be reached.
What will the monitoring achieve?
This AMI on the Irwell, used alongside data collected by the EA will ensure that the biological water quality is checked more frequently and widely, and that action is taken at the earliest opportunity should any severe declines in water quality be detected. Evidence collected by the EA suggest that increased monitoring activity provides a deterrent to unlawful polluters.

The data collected by the Salford Friendly Anglers AMI is being collected and co-ordinated by Dr Adam Moolna of Manchester University. The University intend to use the data we collect to assist the project work of a number of PHD students who also will be conducting chemical analysis of the river water.

We hope to expand the number of sites we monitor across the whole catchment area over the coming 12 months - and will be holding a second training day at the beginning of October. If you're interested in taking part in this initiative please contact us at and book yourself a place. We already have people interested in sampling the Bolton rivers, the Roch, Irk and Medlock but would love to expand the numbers of sample points on all the Irwell basin rivers.

Taking a kick sample

Counting ther bugs we find
Sore heads but smiling

Some of the bugs are amazing when viewed at high magnification.

Everyones a winner

Sampling will take up half an hour of your time on the first weekend of each month - we provide the training and kit - so come and join us.

1 comment:

  1. Did my first kick sample session at the Burrs on 3rd Sept with the help of Mike. After Phil (my Buddy on the course) attempt and picking to much silt up, Mike suggested a faster running and cleaner section. Going through our sample first impressions was that we'd not got much but as things started to settle down I was amazed what we had picked up. Having less silt in made it a lot easier to estimate and log your findings. A very enjoyable session. Thanks Mike