Catchment News

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.

Anglers in the border region learning about the new app

Participants use meters and visual observations to collect data on the following parameters:

  • Wind Speed
  • Presence of Algae
  • Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)
  • pH
  • Electrical Conductivity
  • Temperature
  • 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.

Jimmy McVeigh, Karen Kennedy and Gretta McCarron, Community Water Officers, Local Authority Waters Programme

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our waterbodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office.

LAWCO

Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.

EPA

Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,829 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives and measures for each.

DECLG

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures that will be implemented after public consultation and sign off by the Minister.