I am delighted to be working for River Holme Connections (RHC) for my placement year, assisting members of this friendly and forward thinking charitable trust with their aims to improve Holme Valley’s local waterways and promote riverside community engagement.
This past two years I have being studying toward a Marine & Freshwater Conservation degree at Cumbria University, gaining an overview of numerous biodiversity monitoring techniques and conservation practices that are typically used by RHC.
A current monitoring-project, facilitated with help of RHC Volunteers and myself, involves collecting Kick-Sampling data to ascertain levels of River-fly larvae, which are important biological indicators of water quality. And inputting results into the Anglers’ Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) database – a database setup to monitor standardised water quality and provide a useful online resource for other ecological agencies to access.
On the Lockwood Holme River section, we are about to investigate the impact of weirs on non-native crayfish upstream migration. Many will already know the UK’s white-clawed crayfish share catchments with invasive Turkish and American Signal crayfish, which drive out native species, leading to a cascade of effects that disrupt local river ecosystems. So understandably it is vital to monitor population spread of non-native species, which we shall do by both applying for permission from the Environment Agency, then using proprietary crayfish traps baited with cat food to sample population presence.
Living in the Lake District has been an outdoor adventure, with memorable experiences including regular open water swimming in Rydal’s refreshingly clean and cold 13°C waters; canoeing on Lake Windermere, and observing falcons, red deer, and rare Marsh fritillary butterflies in their natural habitat.
Amazingly our own local Holme Valley waterways have so much to offer too. And witnessing first-hand the positive influence nature has on individuals is transformative; so very much look forward to meeting you in our upcoming community events. Our next event is a ‘Bioblitz’ at Honley Old Wood where you can explore the site’s thriving biodiversity with the RHC Team.