The Riverfly Partnership is a network of nearly 100 partner organisations, representing anglers, conservationists, entomologists, scientists, water course managers and relevant authorities, working together to: protect the water quality of our rivers; further the understanding of riverfly populations, and actively conserve riverfly habitats.
The Riverfly Partnership interest focuses on three key groups of riverflies: the up-wing flies or mayflies (Ephemeroptera), caddisflies or sedges (Trichoptera) and stoneflies (Plecoptera) in whatever habitats they occur (rivers and still waters).
Riverflies (and other freshwater invertebrates) are at the heart of the freshwater ecosystem and are a vital link in the aquatic food chain. Riverfly populations are affected by many factors, predominately water quality, habitat diversity, water level and flow rate. Their common characteristics of limited mobility, relatively long life cycle, presence throughout the year and specific tolerances to changes in environmental conditions make them powerful biological indicators to monitor water quality, and are commonly referred to as ‘the canary of our rivers.’ The Riverfly Partnership spearheads an initiative to allow interested groups to take action that will help conserve the river environment. This initiative provides a simple monitoring technique which groups can use to detect any severe perturbations in river water quality and puts them in direct communication with the local Ecological Contact of the EA, SEPA, NRW or NIEA.
The monitoring scheme, used alongside the routine monitoring of these organisations ensures that water quality is checked more widely and action taken at the earliest opportunity if any problem are detected. Successful schemes are underway within catchments in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Organisations interested in joining the initiative must have an individual prepared to act as a local coordinator and have members attend an official one-day Riverfly Partnership workshop, run by an accredited Riverfly Partnership Tutor. The training workshop includes presentations and practical demonstrations.