The Riverfly Partnership (RP) has today announced that Ben Fitch is its new Director, tasked to expand and develop its important work of monitoring riverfly health – a key indicator of the whole river system’s overall good condition.
The Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) has hosted RP under its charitable objectives ever since its inception six years ago. One of its most important and successful initiatives is the development of the Anglers Monitoring Initiative (AMI) groups up and down the country. This is direct action in its most positive guise, with volunteer anglers trained to observe and identify 8 water insect families and use them as indicators of any trouble spots or incidents, from pollution to over-abstraction, as well as recording and mapping flylife trends on their local rivers.
Paul Knight, S&TA CEO says, “We are delighted to have Ben leading the RP team. He has been working with RP on the AMI for some while and understands exactly what is needed from the ‘sharp’ end, and what communication and support is required by volunteers."
Steve Brooks, RP’s Chairman, added, “The national database is now online, so Ben joins at an opportune time, with his priorities being to develop the ‘hub' structure of AMI – local/regional coordination of volunteer groups in a particular area, so taking some of the admin pressure off HQ – and to bed hub activity into the national database, so that everyone knows what is happening throughout the UK, not just on their one patch.”
Ben, who joins the RP from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, identifies his main challenges: “Expand and develop the online database and mapping system as a central depository of RMI data; convene, organise and teach on training workshops for new recorders and follow up workshops for existing groups and, most importantly, actively encourage new participants to the RMI.”
Paul Knight concludes, “S&TA will continue its key role supporting the RP and we wish Ben every success at this important crossroads in RP’s development. “