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Smart Rivers


Through SmartRivers, Salmon & Trout Conservation (S&TC) are using aquatic invertebrates as a diagnostic test, to understand more about the subtle, but significant, water quality pressures stressing juvenile fish. SmartRivers will enable volunteers, supported by a training scheme, training videos, an invertebrate-identification App and support programmes, to monitor the water quality in their rivers to a near-professional standard.

How SmartRivers can help you

SmartRivers takes your invertebrate monitoring to the highest resolution. The data you collect through SmartRivers will be comparable with the Environment Agency's own data. By processing the species you find through our unique calculator, SmartRivers analysis can pinpoint what the problems in your river are and where they are occurring. This allows us to go beyond alerting regulators to pollution incidents, instead providing evidence to help prevent pollution occurring in the first place. This information can also inform you how to concentrate management efforts for the best environmental outcomes - conserving time and money.

How SmartRivers works

- Upon enrolment into the SmartRivers programme and prior to training, a professional will come and 'benchmark' your hubs chosen sites in spring and autumn. This provides a baselineand helps us understand which invertebrate species are in your river.

- S&TC will provide two day-long courses for your group of volunteers: the first course teaches how to take a three-minute kick-sweep sample and preserve it in alcohol for later identification to species level; the second course teaches you how to carry out species-level identification (only for the invertebrates you would expect to find in your river) using our App. 

- After completion of your training, you will sampling and analyse twice a year (spring and autumn) and send your data back to S&TC, where we insert the species level data into our unique scientific calculator that generates scores against common river stress types. These will be reported back to you and your data will be stored in our database to be shared with us and others working to improve our rivers, locally and nationally.

- You will have the ability to use the data to work with S&TC to drive improvements in water quality in your river and others across the country. For example, you can use the data to assist in river management and assess river restoration projects. And we can use the data to work with the Environment Agency and others to address the causes of poor water quality.

There's something for everyone

Species identification not your cup of tea? No problem! A 'sample and send' option is available for groups that are happy to do the sampling, but not confident or time constrained with the analysis part.

We have trained hubs using the SmartRivers method around the country, but are looking for more clubs/groups to take part. If your club is interested, please get in touch with Lauren at smartrivers@salmon-trout.org.