Affinity Water has awarded £2,500 to Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust as part of its Community Engagement Programme.
The grant will support the purchase of monitoring kits for local volunteers trained in the Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (RMI). The RMI is a nationwide scheme launched by the Riverfly Partnership in 2007 to enable anglers and other interested groups to take action to protect and conserve their local rivers. The RMI technique involves trained volunteers taking 3-minute kick samples from the river bed, and recording the presence and abundance of 8 pollution-sensitive invertebrate groups from these samples. The data will be held by the relevant river group and shared with the Environment Agency (EA), who will be able to take action, including further scientific investigation, should invertebrate numbers drop below expected levels. The technique allows rivers to be monitored more widely and at greater frequency than is possible by the EA alone, thereby ensuring that swift action is taken to resolve any issue.
Last autumn 32 volunteers from seven different rivers across Hertfordshire and Middlesex received training in the RMI technique, including identification of the invertebrates found. The grant from Affinity Water will be used to buy monitoring kits (including nets, trays, magnifiers) for these volunteers, meaning that they can put their skills to use and start monitoring our rivers!