wicklow fresh water watch

Wicklow Freshwater Watch Event

Calling all Wicklow Tidy Towns groups, Biodiversity groups, Community groups, Scout Leaders, Teachers and anyone with an interest in protecting our local freshwater ways! Greystones Tidy Towns would like to invite you to a FREE Freshwater Watch training and demonstration event on Sunday, 24th September from 10.30 until 12.30, at Three Trouts Stream in Greystones.

Greystones Tidy Towns (GTT) is the local Earth Watch Europe’s FreshWater Watch group leader with the goal of bridging Co. Wicklow communities through monitoring our local freshwater quality levels through this internationally accepted data collection platform.

GTT will provide training and access to standard test kits for the most common pollutants and allows our citizen scientists to enter their data into the Water Watch app. This data is publicly displayed and used by professional scientists and policymakers to support the conservation of our important yet fragile freshwater bodies, such as rivers, streams, and lakes. You can view the monitoring data we have collected to date here.

With support from the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) and the Community Water Fund, we are now inviting you and your County Wicklow based group to join our team of Citizen Scientists with a goal to survey all County Wicklow’s many streams, rivers, and ponds. Monitoring and protecting the health of our rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, and wetlands is vital. It’s also great fun! And a practical, educational activity for community groups and schools.

What You Will Learn to Do

At our Train the Leader event we will work with Adam Calihman, Greystones Tidy Towns Vice-Chair and Biodiversity Subcommittee Chair, and Justin Ivory, Community Water Officer for the Local Authority Waters Programme, to pass on the following Citizen Science Skills:

  • Testing Nutrient levels, using some simple water chemistry testing kits which measure the presence of nitrates and phosphates.
    • Nitrates (NO3) – some man-made sources include fertiliser, manures or slurry run-off from agriculture, green waste dumping in or near waterways
    • Phosphate (PO3) – agricultural, industrial, and domestic sources often from fertilisers, manures, raw sewage, and detergent runoff.
  • Testing Turbidity (i.e., how clear or cloudy the water is), using a special optical test called a Secchi Tube.
  • Visual observations of their chosen local waterbody, such as the surrounding land use, pollution sources, and algae.
  • Kick sampling, using the Citizen Science Stream Index (CSSI) to check Macro-invertebrates (small aquatic animals such as insect larva, snails, worms, beetles etc) as indicators of water quality. Where rivers are unpolluted these are in abundance. You will learn how to collect and report the data.
  • Safety guidance and tips

Kit You Will Take Back With You

Each group attendee will also receive access to a Freshwater Watch starter kit, to record results from their own local streams, and access to the EarthWatch Europe FreshWater platform to record and view ongoing data for the county and access to purchase refill test kits as required.

Furthermore, by attending this training you will also be able to loan out one of our two kick sampling kits for short-term periods.

Who Should Register?

All County Wicklow TidyTowns, biodiversity or sustainability groups, youth groups, schools, other community groups and individuals interested in protecting our freshwater ways are welcome to register. It is important that we have groups who can foresee having an active role in this programme for at least a year.

Note on H&S, Accessibility and Parking: We will be training in semi-wild areas with uneven, sloped, slippery and tricky footing and therefore this is not a programme we can offer over a wide range of accessibility needs. Parking may also not be immediately at the training site and some walking may be required. Our sincere apologies.

How to Register

If you would like your group to get involved please register here for our Train the Leader session on Sunday 24th September, 10.30 to 12.30, at Charlesland, Three Trouts Stream.

Please note groups may register one or more individuals to attend and learn the skills; however, only one set of kit will be given per community group.

What To Bring

  • Fully Charged Telephone with WaterWatch App loaded and fully registered – details will be sent to you via email after signing up to the event
  • Boots/Wellies
  • Sun and rain kit
  • Drinking water

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