BEACON’s River Guardian project started in January 2017 following a call from members of the local community, and local anglers for more information on the quality of the water in the Bollin Catchment. This work also built on the pilot scheme run by Mersey Rivers Trust (you can find out more about this here), and research carried out by students from Manchester University during the summer of 2016.
River Guardians are volunteers from the local community who are trained to take water samples from rivers and streams and test them, using simple kit, for nitrates and phosphates, as well as recording, temperature, pH and weather conditions. River Guardians return to the same spot at various times during the year to take water samples, and we call this ‘Adpot a Spot’. The results of these tests are then submitted to our Project Officer, mapped and analysed. This information helps to direct future management by making it clearer where there may be pollution problems on a waterbody.
Citizen science programmes such as this one empower communities to test and monitor local water sources, promote awareness and address nutrient pollution from agriculture, industry and waste facilities. A growing number of River Guardians are joining this project, gaining experience in citizen science while gathering valuable data. There are currently 35 BEACON River Guardians active at the moment, testing waterbodies across the Bollin catchment.
Maps of the information that has been collected to date (Oct 2017), can be viewed online here.