Monday 3 June 2024

Settle Wild flowers 132c: River Ribble River Blitz: 1 June 2024

The Ribble Rivers Trust organised a training day and survey of the Ribble at Settle and its tributaries.

I thought "O good I can survey a new bit of Ribble for Wildflowers" - and to may amazement found that the location me my work partner and I were assigned to was exactly the same stretch of Ribble that I had visited and thoroughly surveyed two days earlier. - This was great. It meant I was not distracted by other things and could concentrate on the job in hand. It meant that I would learn more about this stretched of water that I had mused on two days earlier.

The morning was spent in Settle Social Club learning about the organisms we might see, about ways of describing the river and riverbank features and about techniques and about safety. (Do not go in water that is more than knee deep even if you have waders. There can be strong currents. Use you long net handle to prod the rock/gravel/silt/water just in front of you to test the depth.  Wear the rubber gloves provided (in case of Weil's disease or in case someone had put in chemicals upstream. The second person who is not doing the kick sampling is to watch the kick sampler and to watch the river upstream (for Canoes? Alligators?   Floating logs?  Increasing river level?)

There were a couple of families with children, There were retired people, there were fishermen,

There was a girl there from Lancaster University who wanted to test out a method for Citizen Science people to use using Algae to indicate water quality.

My partner for the afternoon is a fisherman and knew this stretch of water well. He explained how the field upstream used to be a rubbish tip where people came to search for old bottles. He pointed out a deep pool that was good for fish. He encouraged me to wear my wellies and do the kick sampling, saying he had had plenty of experience wading in water whilst fishing. So he filled in the extensive record sheet. 

The water level was a useful level - The country and this area has had the wettest spring for umpteen years (Global warming?), but we have had two days with no rain so the water has lowered a little. The day got sunnier as the afternoon progressed.

We found a side part of the river where it was not too deep. The river base was mostly boulders and cobbles, but on some steps I found enough pebbles and gravel to "Kick" amongst the cobbles, releasing creatures and algae and detritus that would then get carried into the net. Three of the ten kicks were in places where the water rushed between pairs of small boulders so a good deal of water went through the net there.  We lifted a cobble and scraped the Flat Mayfly and Cased Caddis of into our collecting tray.

A heron flew away as we arrived.

We found one big bullhead which we released after videoing it.

There was lots of very long strands of a dark blackish green alga about 1 mm wide with knobbles on it - |About the thickness of Chara strands. This I was later informed by Katrina was a species of Lemanea - a red Alga.  It seems most like Lemanea ...

I scooped up other bits of alga - but Katrina's response was "Diatoms" -- maybe what I call diatomous sludge.

We arrived back at the Social Club afterwards first, before any other group - not just because our location was the closest, but because Tim was very efficient.

We identified 

No comments: