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Citizen science project aims to improve water quality monitoring across the Wye catchment

17 May 2021

Wye catchment

Cardiff University researchers will provide tools and training to local communities around the Wye catchment to enhance citizen science water quality monitoring.

Water quality monitoring is critical to understanding the health of freshwater systems, and to enable appropriate action to be taken to manage them.

Citizen scientists have been regularly monitoring water quality across the Wye catchment to try and trace the source of poor water quality events. Although a great community effort, the quality of the data collected by independent voluntary groups is limited by their tools and the amount of training and support they receive.

Often citizen science data has not been widely accepted by those with the authority to act to improve water quality. Understanding the reliability of basic monitoring kits used by citizen scientists and introducing more advanced monitoring equipment can help to improve the quality and acceptability of data sets.

Dr Rupert Perkins, Dr Elizabeth Bagshaw, and research student Elena von Benzon, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, will work with community members and other local stakeholders to enhance citizen science activities across the Wye catchment.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded project will enable the collaborative design and delivery of a citizen science monitoring programme for the Wye.   Community groups involved will be able to select the monitoring equipment that best meets their requirements and design a programme that suits their needs, with guidance from academic and industry experts. Participants will be trained and supported in using monitoring equipment and following best practices to gather reliable scientific datasets.

The data gathered will then be analysed by Cardiff University and shared at a forum with a wider group of local stakeholders, including regulatory bodies. The aim is that this will help improve understanding of water quality trends and patterns across the Wye catchment and promote the value of collaborative citizen science water quality monitoring.

The project is funded by the NERC to encourage academics and members of the public in Wales to work collaboratively on research projects and will be part of the NERC Wales Showcase 2021.

If your community group or organisation is interested in taking part in the citizen science monitoring programme, please contact

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