Anglers in border region scale up lake monitoring
The Local Authority Waters Programme is helping anglers in the border region monitor their lakes using innovative citizen science techniques. Three Community Water Officers tell us how the project is progressing…
During the draft River Basin Management Plan consultation in 2018, anglers in the border region expressed a desire for more monitoring on their lakes. After researching the potential for LAWPRO funding for a Citizen Science monitoring project, the Border Community Water Officer team approached the Environmental Protection Agency, Local Authorities, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and IFI about a potential project. Once the agencies were on board the team applied for funding from LAWPRO which was awarded.
As the project was due to take place in different lakes along the border region the team wished a systematic methodology for data collection. Jimmy McVeigh explored the options and with the LAWPRO Technical lead Michael Pollard devised a GIS enabled app using Survey 123 ARCGIS. Working with Ray Smith of the EPA, Jimmy developed an online data entry system that would record site specific data directly onto the volunteers mobile or tablet. This provides a central database for all the data that can then be shared throughout the partnership.
Participants use meters and visual observations to collect data on the following parameters:
- Wind Speed
- Presence of Algae
- Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)
- Electrical Conductivity
- Observations at Sample Location
Karen Kennedy organised a training day for volunteers at Rossinver Community Centre, County Leitrim, in May 2019. Topics included the science behind Lake Monitoring (delivered by Ray Smith of the EPA); Biosecurity (Ruairí Ó Conchúir, LAWPRO), Citizen Science in Northern Ireland (Lisa Maddox NIEA). Jimmy then demonstrated how to take a record using the app, and Patsy Ryan and Vicky Veerkamp, border catchment scientists demonstrated how to use the equipment in the local Ballagh River.
We are very pleased to say we have our first records submitted and we hope this pilot project will lead to greater stewardship of our waterways and helps further our understanding of lakes in the region. We would like to thank the anglers, volunteers, agency staff and LAWPRO colleagues for their contributions.