Back to News & Media

Citizen science in freshwater rivers

An exciting new method for citizen science developed here in Ireland that anyone can use to examine the quality of their local rivers or streams by looking at the types of creatures which are living in it. Created by Dr. Simon Harrison of the ERI and School of BEES, the ‘Citizen Science Index’ looks at the types of water bugs that are found at the bottom of our rivers. The Citizen Science Stream Index (CSSI) is based on the presence or absence of six key aquatic invertebrates. Three pollution-sensitive invertebrates (‘good guys’) are commonly found in clean streams and three pollution-tolerant invertebrates (‘bad guys’) are commonly found in polluted streams.

Take a look to learn more:

To develop a consensus on the most suitable approach for citizen science in Ireland, the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) supported by the EPA, had engaged with the practitioners, agencies, trainers and community groups interested in citizen science. A series of workshops and training days to develop a strategy was organised. This led to the development of the Citizen Science Stream Index (CSSI) suitable for beginners and the adoption of the Small Stream Impact Score (SSIS) used by scientists for the more advanced practitioners. The schemes are being trialled with the support of locally led catchment projects (e.g., Norevision, Maigue RT, Inishownen RT, Farming for the Blue Dot EIP) and are currently being rolled out across LEADER areas via bespoke Water Training developed by LAWPRO and the Rural Development Companies (inc. IRD Duhallow). The National Biodiversity Data Centre are currently developing the online repository