MONITORING WATER QUALITY
If biodiversity is to be enhanced in the Sid Valley, then the current state of nature needs to be watched – though surveys and monitoring programmes.
A key ecosystem in the Valley is its “blue corridors” – and so it is clear that the quality of its waters needs to be monitored, to gain that ‘baseline’ of information to see where we are before taking further steps to enhance biodiversity along the Valley’s waterways.
The Sid Valley Biodiversity Group is working on a project to record information about the quality of the water in the River Sid, its tributaries and other streams in the Sidmouth parish.
Their website offers a lot of up-to-date information on this project, as well as the wider context of water quality in Devon and beyond.
This is from the Sid Valley Rivers Project page:
Maintaining and improving the health of our river system is a crucial part of a nature recovery plan.
The Sid and its tributaries are at the heart of our valley and provide habitat for both aquatic and terrestrial species and those invertebrates such as may flies, which occupy both habitats during their life cycle. In order to understand and assess the current health of our river system we aim to record information about water quality, sources of pollution and plants and animals living in or around the water.
We are supported by the West Country Rivers Trust [WRT], who operate this citizen science project across the SW Region. In the Sid Valley volunteers are monitoring monthly at specific locations on the Sid, its tributaries and Glen Goyle. New volunteers, especially in the Sidbury area, would be warmly welcomed.
Monitoring is straightforward, training is given and no prior expertise is needed.
Please contact us for further information
This is from the Rivers section of the site:
The Quality Of The Water In Our Rivers & Streams Impacts Biodiversity. But How Is Quality Assessed? And Who Conducts Water Quality Monitoring Tests?
Water quality can be tested in various ways with some evidence of pollution being visually obvious whilst other measures need chemical tests. In some rivers a degree of turbidity is natural to a specific catchment, especially after heavy rain. But clear water doesn’t automatically mean we have healthy water. Some pollutants aren’t visible and can be present in clear water. That’s why conducting tests is vital if we are to accurately monitor and record water quality.
In the Sid Valley a number of volunteers work with the Westcountry Rivers Trust to regularly monitor water quality. The tests include turbidity, temperature, total dissolved solids and phosphate tests carried out using a test kit. This is enhanced by visual surveys of certain species such as otter, kingfishers etc and the reporting of invasive species.
The results are recorded online on Cartographer software which allows aggregation of results across catchments and the region. These results are then available to the Environment Agency and inform their decisions at local and National level.
The attached video is of the latest Westcountry Rivers Trust webinar and shows how results are being used to produce a rivers scorecard. Westcountry CSI April Webinar – Our Scorecards – YouTube
If you’d like to be take part in surveying your local stream or river please contact us via the contacts page.
The Westcountry Rivers Trust are very keen on citizen science – that is, getting local people to monitor the quality of water on their own rivers and streams:
13 July 2021:
The Environment Agency has just published its annual report on the water companies – and it doesn’t make very impressive reading:
19 July 2021:
There are concerns that the latest scientific studies show that “Active coronavirus has been found in faeces, so sewage discharge into rivers where people swim, especially in these hot weather conditions, is potentially lethal.”:
23 July 2021:
Surfers Against Sewage have witnessed the latest pollution off the Devon coast: