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Riverfly Monitoring

The Wear Rivers Trust invites volunteers to help us with our work to protect and improve the River Wear and its tributaries by monitoring riverfly life, in order to keep an eye on water quality changes and potential pollution issues.


The Trust is a member of the Riverfly Partnership, a network of organisations working together to further the understanding of riverfly populations and to protect water quality by monitoring the presence of certain indicator insect species. We have built up a team of community volunteers who carry out monthly samples as part of this work in our catchment and we are always keen to hear from new volunteers.

The monitoring involves carrying out a kick-sample to collect, identify and count macroinvertebrates. The results are collated by the Trust and also passed on to the Environment Agency. The macroinvertebrates are very sensitive to pollution and are therefore good indicators of water quality; changes in species abundance may be the first sign of a pollution problem so the data collected makes an important contribution to our understanding of the pollution pressures facing different parts of the catchment.

If you can commit to taking a monthly sample (river levels permitting of course!) you will need to attend a Riverfly training day so that you can become officially certified as a Riverfly Partnership volunteer. This is important because scientific rigour of results requires that all volunteers, where ever they are in the country, follow the same method of collection and recording. The method is simple to follow and the training will give you all the information you need in an informal and interactive way, including introducing you to the importance of riverflies and guiding you on the identification of riverfly species as well as providing a practical demonstration and lots of time for you to practice. At the end of the training day you will receive a free sampling kit, enabling you to get straight out on your own sampling site! We will help you choose this site and look forward to receiving your data back each month.

Kick sampling   Identifying the invertebrates

If you are interested in volunteering in this way then please contact us for more information and details of up-coming training days.

Look out for future events on our web site

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