The scheme has two principal aims: to provide a more challenging task for those volunteers who would welcome this, and also to extend the amount of information about the river. This was achieved by incorporating taxa which thrive when subject to stressors, such as reducing flows and deposition of fine sediment, and also extending the list of those taxa which are compromised by these stressors. In addition, the scheme includes significant invasive species to facilitate information on their spread. The score derived can rise or fall, depending on the relative balance of insensitive taxa versus sensitive taxa.
To implement the new system the Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project, with their partners at the Environment Agency, have been working with their existing Riverfly volunteers to pilot the project on Lincolnshire’s chalk streams in the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. Existing volunteers were given a day’s training by Richard Chadd and Chris Extence hosted by the Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project, first to emphasise the key problems affecting local rivers, then to demonstrate how the presence of particular invertebrates can highlight issues such as poor water quality, sedimentation and low flows.
The survey method remains the same as the basic ARMI scheme: a standard 3-minute kick sample is taken at an allocated river section every month by volunteers and invertebrates are identified and numbers estimated and recorded. The list of invertebrates identified has been extended to 33, including the eight used in the basic ARMI scheme, to give a more in-depth evaluation of any problems affecting the river. To record the data, shared GoogleDoc spreadsheets have been used.
Lincolnshire Chalk Streams Project (LCSP), Dorset Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency (EA), Freshwater Biological Association (FBA)