24. Junior River Wardens

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
  • Educate the general public and local businesses about its role in water quality and quantity improvements

Project description

This project engages and empowers local children and young people to take part in a volunteer network programme with scientific credentials.

Junior River Wardens assess and monitor the health of the River Lea, allowing for better decision-making and intelligent interventions and improvements.

The project will take 16 local schools and four youth groups to the river and around the parks and other green spaces of the river corridor, to demonstrate first-hand the important role that local people can play alongside local and national organisations in preserving the quality of our water systems. The project will establish a two year monitoring sceheme, adapting OPAL's water survey and Groundwork's previous NIA project and linking with the development of River Lea Nature Profiles. It will focus on monitoring invasive and non-native species, litter and pollution monitoring.

In the first year, the following schools and youth groups were Junior River Wardens:

  1. Whitefield Primary School
  2. Beech Hill Primary School
  3. Ramridge Primary School
  4. Downside Primary School
  5. Pirton Hill Primary School
  6. Challney Girls School
  7. Ashcroft High School
  8. Surrey Street Primary School
  9. Houghton Regis Youth Club


The project culminated in a schools and community engagement event on Friday 6 October 2017, The Big Count, where community training sessions were given to interested people, to kick-start another stage of the project: RiverLUTiON Volunteer River Monitors.

Here are the monitoring results to date (click on the table to open the pdf file or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to ask for the original Excel file):

Junior River Wardens monitoring results

Project lead: Groundwork Luton & Bedfordshire
Funding source: Thames Water Community Investment Fund
Project start: September 2016
Contact for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting.