TEST AND ITCHEN RIVER FLY CENSUS REPORT
Salmon and Trout Conservation have published the results of their River Fly Census on the Test and Itchen. The report was based on the analysis of river fly samples collected at sites on the two rivers over the period 2015-2017. The Association was pleased to contribute to this initiative by helping to fund the collection and analysis of the samples in 2017.
What are the conclusions? The report demonstrates clearly what those who spend time by the rivers have known for some time. River flies in terms of both abundance and diversity have declined over the past three decades. The data also points clearly to the main reasons for the decline: too much sediment and too much phosphate. A cocktail of complex chemicals in the rivers, including pesticides and insecticides, are also to blame. Armed with this evidence, efforts to prevent sediment getting into the rivers and to reduce phosphate levels can be better targeted. These efforts are beginning to have an impact – there is evidence that phosphate levels in the Test and Itchen are beginning to decline – but there is still much more to do.
The Association is planning to continue the River Fly Census on the Test and Itchen to ensure we have a continuous set of independent, scientifically rigorous evidence with which to keep the pressure on the regulators to address the problems. The River Fly Census also demonstrates the value of building strong partnerships with organisations like Salmon and Trout Conservation to make things happen. Chalkstream conservation is a team sport – nothing can be achieved working in isolation.
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You can read the full text of the Test and Itchen River Fly Census Report here.