The Angler’s Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) was launched by the Riverfly Partnership in 2007 to enable anglers and other interested groups to actively monitor and protect their local rivers. It helps rivers to be monitored more widely and at greater frequency than is possible by the Environment Agency alone. ARMI is already used widely in the UK as a 'neighbourhood watch' for rivers, practiced by anglers, environmentalists and community groups. It has proven effective in identifying pollution incidents and ensuring action is taken.
Until recently, the main limitation hindering the roll out of ARMI across the UK has been the lack of training opportunities. The Riverfly Partnership has sought to address this bottleneck through supporting the development of riverfly hubs. The Chilterns, Hertfordshire & Middlesex Riverfly Hub is a partnership, set up in 2014 to provide ARMI training to anyone wishing to monitor the health of rivers in the Upper Lea, Colne and South Chilterns catchments (3,217km2 including 34 major rivers). Jointly led by the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project and Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, the Hub coordinates ARMI across the area with the ultimate aim of setting up and supporting riverfly monitoring on every river in the hub area.
Through a variety of sources the hub was able to obtain £12K funding to support the hub’s set up and operation in the first year. To date the hub has trained over 120 new monitors and is supporting ARMI groups on 14 rivers in the hub area. Most recently the hub has trained volunteers who will be monitoring Catchment Partnership Action Funded river restoration projects being delivered in the Colne catchment this year. The hub has also helped establish new ARMI groups in neighbouring catchments (Thame and Ray) and is currently assisting Thames21 to set up a riverfly hub for the London Lea catchment.
The hub is able to provide training for volunteers through an annual programme of training workshops run by its five Riverfly Partnership accredited ARMI instructors.
The hub’s partners are:
Riverfly Partnership, Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, Hertfordshire & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, River Chess Association, Friends of the River Mimram, Colne Valley Fisheries Consultative, Affinity Water, Hertfordshire Country Council and the Environment Agency.