Catchment News

Citizen Science: Join the The Rivers Trust Big River Watch, 3 May – 6 May 2024

Twice a year The Rivers Trust run Big River Watch weekends – a simple citizen science activity that helps build a picture of river health across the UK and Ireland. The spring Big River Watch is taking place between Friday 3 May and Monday 6 May 2024.

Whether you’re a swimmer or a paddler, an angler or a rambler, a wildlife spotter or a sit-and-watch-er, download the Big River Watch app today! However you love your river, Big River Watch is a chance to be part of the movement improving our freshwater spaces. In just three easy steps, you can contribute to a data set that will help us build a picture of river health.

Over 5,000 of you took part in The Rivers Trust first ever Big River Watch weekend on the 22-24 of September 2023, working together to submit over 3,600 surveys. The results from that weekend showed that almost 60% of you were new to citizen science and 73% of you thought your river looked healthy, but 54% of you also spotted signs of pollution. Help The Rivers Trust grow the survey and learn more about our rivers in the spring Big River Watch weekend, between 3 and 6 May.

  • Step 1: Download the app
    Download the free Big River Watch app on your smartphone before visiting your chosen river.
  • Step 2: Take part
    Pick a riverside location, spend 15 minutes observing and answer the questions on the survey. You can complete the Big River Watch at your favourite local spot, or choose to get to know somewhere new.
  • Step 3: Upload
    Upload your Big River Watch survey. It’s that simple to get involved!

You’ll tell The Rivers Trust about the things that you see – from wildlife and plants, to the flow speed of the water and whether you can spot any pollution. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, you can use handy in-app ID guides for pollution and wildlife.

Then, The Rivers Trust will gather up all of your results and their river specialists will get busy analysing the information. Data will be shared too, so that it can be useful not just for The Rivers Trust; other environmental organizations, journalists or community groups can also use it to help in the fight for healthier, wilder rivers.

The app and survey are open year-round, so you can keep recording useful information about your local river at any time, if you wish.

Share your experience and your photos on social media using #BigRiverWatch

Learn more:

Ready to get involved? Download the free Big River Watch app:

Download the Big River Watch app with the Apple App Store

Download the Big River Watch app with Google Play

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 water bodies.

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 Programme.


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.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

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 to protect and restore our waters.