SmartRivers in action: Welsh Dee Trust

  • Wildfish
  • Wildfish
  • Wildfish
  • Wildfish
SmartRivers volunteers identify invertebrate species as indicators of water quality.

SmartRivers volunteers are our lifeblood. Over 300 trained volunteers sample 95 river sites across the UK twice a year. It’s their passion and commitment that keeps vital river data coming in. Data that we cannot rely on regulatory agencies to collect. 

The Welsh Dee Trust established a SmartRivers hub in spring 2021. They initially signed up to monitor the River Alyn, but have since expanded to cover the River Ceiriog and various brooks in the Aldford Brook catchment. They joined SmartRivers to build long term datasets on the condition of the rivers, as various schemes are being undertaken to improve water quality and flow in the area.

David Tomlinson is a volunteer with the Welsh Dee SmartRivers hub. Here is what he told us about the hub and why its work is so vital to the local community in protecting a river that they love.

What was your motivation for signing up to be part of the Welsh Dee Trust SmartRivers hub?

I have always loved nature, especially riparian habitats. A river full of life is indicative of a healthy environment – something that is all too rare these days.

What’s your favourite part about volunteering for SmartRivers?

The invertebrates themselves! What they can tell us about the river is fascinating. Small but mighty, they are also incredibly beautiful.

Image 01: a selection of the aquatic invertebrates our SmartRivers volunteers sample for.

What do you find most challenging?

Accurate identification is by far the most challenging aspect of SmartRivers sampling but getting it right is also the most rewarding.

Image 02: SmartRivers volunteers from the Welsh Dee Trust hub examine invertebrates using microscopes.

What tips can you offer first-time SmartRivers volunteers?

Keep at it. The more identification you do, the more confident you become. Being a SmartRivers volunteer is a proactive way of helping to protect and restore your local river – with experience and understanding the more worthwhile and rewarding it becomes.

How do you use the data gathered by SmartRivers to protect the future of your river and its wild fish?

For the rivers we monitor, SmartRivers data will help us pinpoint the sites where there is declining water quality and the potential cause of this decline. This data will help the Welsh Dee Trust and other conservation groups, working to protect the river, create specific and targeted restoration and management plans that tackle the key issues.

At WildFish, we believe that every river should be a SmartRivers. Follow the link below to find out more about developing a SmartRivers hub on your local river.

Find out more
Leave a comment

Support Us

Support like yours allows our determined campaigning team to fight the destruction caused by open-net salmon farming, pollution and over-abstraction

Find out more

Find out about all the ways in which you can help wild fish…