CLEAN (Catchment Level Environment Action Network) Afon Nyfer Summer Sampling
Aiming to study and explore opportunities to enhance healthy habitats in and along the Afon Nyfer, a network of nature conservation and community organisations has formed. This is being co-ordinated through the Growing Better Connections project and Includes representatives from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, West Wales Rivers Trust, Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership, Newport Area Environment Group and Community Councillors. The members of the network recognise that more can be achieved by working together towards common aims. Working at a catchment level to restore habitats enables us to maximise the benefits to wildlife and the communities within it. This provides opportunities for local volunteers to get involved.
In 2021 as part of the CLEAN citizen science project, our volunteers surveyed 82 points and tested nearly 300 water samples from the myriad of small rivers, tributaries, streams, ditches, and springs across the Afon Nyfer’s six sub-catchments, most of which are rarely, if ever, visited by monitoring authorities. The results and report from that survey are available here
That survey was conducted in early spring so by measuring again in the summer of 2022 and comparing the results; it will help us to understand the contribution of nutrients that come from water treatment facilities rather than land based activities. This data will also support a funding bid to help the community to develop a collective vision and implement nature-based solutions. These will target long term improvements for the environment, farm businesses and tourism. Leading to greater resilience and opportunities for people and wildlife to thrive across the Nevern catchment.
This time we will also be carrying out five kick sampling sessions, where families can have paddle in the stream and take a look at the tiny wildlife and invertebrates that are living there. There will be experts on hand to help us to identify what we find and understand what it tells us about the health of the river as an ecosystem.
In order to guarantee consistency, we will work with Freshwater Watch who have already established a platform to record and visualise water quality data. Freshwater Watch work with groups across the world to help communities sample water quality in their local catchments. Volunteers upload valuable data on freshwater quality, including nitrate and phosphate levels, turbidity, and visual factors which can then be accessed via an online portal or a smartphone app. The data and methodology are standardised so it is consistent across different research areas and can be used for scientific research.
Taking samples is quick and easy, the CLEAN project will provide volunteers with testing equipment and a training session to enable them to take samples. Volunteers will also be asked to take photos and make observations about the riverbanks, their condition and the plants growing there. This data will be collated and assessed to develop the next phase of the project.
Get in touch
If you would like to find out more, or join in as a volunteer, then please get in touch or sign up to our free training event at Castell Henllys in the afternoon of Saturday 30th of July. It will be a short training session to introduce the project, show you how to take water samples to measure Nitrate and Phosphate, and you will have the chance to try the platform and the smartphone app that we will use to record the data. Please sign up to the event via this link.
If you have any questions, please contact Adam Dawson and Anna Heinlein via email@example.com or by telephone: 01239 831602