6. RiverLUTiON Volunteer River Monitors
Themes: Community engagement and participation; Improving water quality and water quantity
- Improve local knowledge and understanding of the river and the issues facing it
- Increase public access to and involvement in the river
- Promote the river as a community and educational resource
- Promote action to reduce households' water consumption and pollution
- Work together to investigate and implement solutions to manage and minimise sources of pollution
- Educate the general public and local businesses about its role in water quality and quantity improvements
Groundwork is in the final stages of finalising a community engagement project aimed at empowering local people to form a volunteer network programme with scientific credentials.
It will mean we will be able to assess and monitor the health of the river allowing for better decision-making and intelligent interventions and improvements. It will link in with the work that the school and youth groups are undertaking, but involve a number of more complex monitoring tasks such as water quality/pollution tests, habitat surveys, pollution contaminants survey, invertebrates survey and possibly Riverfly monitoring.
The project will allow for Groundwork to train two members of staff to create a RiverLUTiON Hub. The hub will act as a local citizen science type place for local people to be trained up as volunteers with the aim of engaging at least 20 volunteers each year over two years. As well as local residents, the project will target Luton BID and town centre businesses, and in addition those with land along the river bank in private ownership such as Vauxhall and Luton Hoo, Friends of Parks groups and University students.
Volunteers will be provided with training, information and the equipment required to assess and monitor the health of the River Lea.
The Cartographer website will be used to collate and present the data, to create a timeline of the health of the river and allow volunteers and general audience to see value of data being collected. This will be hosted as a part of the Catchment Partnership website.
It will launch in spring 2017 and join forces with the Junior River Wardens project through an annual celebration event known as The Big Count.