New toolkit launched to help citizens deliver outfall safaris and tackle pollution in rivers
One of the major threats to the water quality of our urban rivers is misconnected pipes. These pipes send pollution directly into the river via a surface water drainage system and compromise the biodiversity of our waterways. Outfall Safaris were first developed by the Zoologial Society of London (ZSL) in partnership with Thames Water and the Environment Agency on the River Crane in May 2016, to enable the public to help locate, assess and report these polluting pipes. ZSL and The Rivers Trust have released a new helpful set of tools to help other environmental NGOs and water companies set up a similar methodology and disseminate the technique across the country. Michelle Walker, Head of Data and GIS at The Rivers Trust, said: “public knowledge about the impact of misconnected pipes is really limited, yet it is one of the major threats to the health of the river. Citizen science is a real game-changer for our rivers, not only does it educate the local community on the issues affecting our rivers, but it is also a really fun way to get people out enjoying and caring for their local river environment.” “We ran an outfall safari with Trent Rivers Trust and Severn Trent Water last year and surveyed 101 outfalls, of which 27 outfalls were recorded as having a detrimental impact to the river. These outfalls are now being addressed by Severn Trent Water, which will make a huge difference to the health of the river – benefitting both the wildlife depending on the river and also the local community” The full resource pack includes a mobile app, training and handout templates so other organisations can easily get their volunteers recording survey data, a reporting template with example maps and tables, case studies of previous projects and links to ArcGIS Online datasets and mapping resources. Please visit the Catchment Based Approach website to view the resource.