Many of our beautiful and beloved waterways are in a poor condition as a result of human influence and the impacts we have inflicted upon our rivers and streams. We are very lucky to have the magnificent Bristol Avon right here on our doorstep. It’s a haven for many different types of amazing local wildlife, but also provides us with a recreational resource for all those making use of the amazing waters – whether that be walkers, anglers, swimmers or kayakers! The quality of the water is pivotal in providing a healthy home for the wildlife we have grown to love which you can see living in and around our waterways. Thankfully we can all play our part in understanding, protecting and enhancing the quality of our local rivers and streams.
Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) will be returning once again this year with their annual Bristol Avon RiverBlitz (formally Waterblitz) event this summer and are seeking all river enthusiasts to take part! The project will be taking place between 11th – 18th July as BART aim to collect (with all your help!) as many water quality samples as possible from rivers, streams and lakes of the Bristol Avon catchment. This data will provide us with an indication of water quality of each sampled river and enable us to initiate enhancement and restoration opportunities across the catchment.
BART will provide free water testing kits to volunteers which can be used to measure nutrient levels in the water sample taken from a chosen waterbody. High concentrations of nutrients can impact local wildlife which depend on a healthy river. The presence of nutrients may indicate a pollution event nearby or issues deriving from multiple pressures including urban or rural runoff, land use, misconnections and sewage discharge. The results will help BART target their conservation work.
Rozy Gray, BART Project Manager, said “Rivers and streams are the arteries of our planet, but they face serious challenges. Within the Bristol Avon Catchment, we often see nutrient pollution entering watercourses and degrading these important ecosystems and impacting the species that inhabit them. Therefore, it is increasingly important to carry out monitoring and work together for rivers.”
“The citizen science event ‘The Bristol Avon RiverBlitz’ is a great opportunity to get back outside and connect with your favourite local river or newly discovered stream. Volunteers can take an active role in scientific monitoring, helping us understand the water quality issues in our communities and to help protect these precious environments.”
Individuals or groups can get involved in the event and BART would like to encourage schools and community groups to take part too. On Saturday 16th July and Sunday 17th July, BART will host an event at the following locations (listed below) during the Bristol Avon RiverBlitz weekend between 10am – 2pm. This will be an opportunity to collect your kit and to ask the BART team any questions about our rivers that you might have!
Cam & Wellow: Saturday 16th July – Midsomer Norton Town Park, Gullock Tyning, Midsomer Norton, Radstock, BA3 2UH
The River Biss: Saturday 16th July – Fore Street, Trowbridge Town Centre, BA14 8ER
The River Chew: Sunday 17th July – Wild Things Farm, Pensford Lane, Stanton Drew, Bristol, BS39 4DX
Congresbury Yeo: Sunday 17th July – Millennium Green, Bristol Road, Congresbury, Bristol, BS49 5AG
Head to bristolavonriverstrust.org/riverblitz/register to find out more and register for a free, easy-to-use water sampling kit and to take part!
Please make sure to sign up before 12th July to ensure you receive your kit in time for the event. Fear not if you miss the deadline, as you can still get involved by attending one of our events across the catchment.
Thank you for taking part in helping us to continue our protection and enhancement of our rivers and streams and the much needed ‘voice for water’.