Surveys of rivers and the organisms found in them are a core focus area for RSK’s aquatic ecology team. Alongside a plethora of UK-based river projects, recent river surveys have taken the team as far as afield as Africa, Greece and Albania.
Recording the quality of river habitats is often a vital first step in assessing the potential impacts of a proposed development scheme. The river habitat survey methodology was developed by the Environment Agency and is frequently used as a tool for monitoring river habitats as part of Water Framework Directive assessments. The survey is a systematic assessment of the physical structure and hydromorphology of a watercourse and involves a surveyor walking a 500 m stretch of river recording features of the river channel, the banks, the adjacent riparian habitats and the wider land use.
In excess of 200 data entries are required on the recording form for each site. Once the form has been completed, it is submitted to the Environment Agency for input to a database to compare the survey site with others.
I undertook a four-day intensive training course run by the Environment Agency in Cardiff during August 2017. The course involved field visits to a wide range of river sites in urban and country parks where the attendees were encouraged to work in groups to complete full river habitat survey. We sat a field test and a classroom exam on the final day of the course. I successfully completed the course and all the assessments, and am delighted to be an accredited surveyor for river habitats.
The river habitat survey manual and survey form
The course was professionally delivered. The great mix of theory sessions and practical exercises provided me with the knowledge and skills to use the river habitat survey method. I am excited to be able to offer this service to our clients.