As restrictions eased we didn’t let the cold weather stop us getting back to the river! Last week saw the long-awaited launch of our ‘Stream Sleuths: using eDNA to determine shared catchment actions’, a project funded by a UKRI Citizen Science Exploration Grant.
Working with partners, including the Blickling and Abbotts Hall fishing clubs, we are taking water samples throughout the Upper Bure catchment.
These samples will be analysed for eDNA; traces of environmental DNA released into the environment through the faeces, mucous, gametes, shed skin, hair and carcasses of fish and other aquatic animals.
Points have been selected throughout the catchment to give the Riverlands team an insight into what fish and other aquatic life call the Upper Bure home, as well as informing us what barriers may be limiting their movement.
A stakeholder workshop last year identified suitable points before and after weirs, dams and fords as well as points within ditches and tributaries, such as the Scarrow Beck, to track extent and preferred habitats.
At each sample point, water is collected and then pushed through a filter. A preservative is added and the filter sent to the lab at Nature Metrics for analysis.
Once completed, this Citizen Science pilot will be evaluated with a view to it being rolled out at the National Trust’s other Riverlands sites.
We’re really excited about getting the results and can’t wait to share them in the summer - who knows what surprises there may be. It will all be invaluable information when planning future projects and tracking the success of those already delivered.