River Guardians

River Guardians are volunteers for the Mersey Rivers Trust. They are vital to the work we do as the information they collect allows for ongoing monitoring of local watercourses to identify issues and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.

There are a variety of activities that our River Guardians undertake:


Water Sampling

 Our volunteers are trained as citizen scientists to monitor the water quality of their local rivers. They are given kits to test the water for Nitrates, Phosphates, Ammonia, turbidity and temperature.

Kick Sampling

Material on the river bed is disturbed by kicking to release invertebrates and collected using a net. The types and quantities of invetebrates present provide an insight into the health of the river.


Litter Picks

Volunteers help us tidy up the bed and banks of our rivers across the whole of the Mersey basin. This often involves getting in the river and wading to collect litter from hard to reach areas.

Leaky Dam Construction

Willow is weaved together to form a barrier within small channels and ditches. This slows the flow of water into the main brook or river to allow vegetation to take up the water and nutrients, therefore reducing flooding downstream and improving the quality of the water.


Water Vole Surveys

Volunteers are trained to identify water vole habitats and latrines to monitor their presence. They are a protected species so it is important that no work will be undertaken that endangers them.

Invasive Non-Native Species Control

Spraying, digging and removal of invasives is essential in allowing native plants and animals to thrive. Himalayan Balsam, Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed require regular maintenance to ensure they are not spread. The help of our volunteers is essential in INNS control as we can cover a much larger area therefore having a greater impact.


Outfall Safaris

Volunteers are trained in walkover surveys to locate outfalls and identify types of point source pollution. This gives us an idea of what is entering the river and potential water quality issues that may occur.

The video below shows some of our volunteers being trained in collecting and testing water samples.

Thank you to our friends at the Rivers Trust for producing this video to showcase the wonderful work our volunteers do.

Link to video: https://youtu.be/YCsSvGqzTp4

Filmed 19/02/2018 at Poise Brook in Hazel Grove Golf Club, Stockport.

Case Studies

Below is a map showing the locations of our River Guardians and the activities they have been involved in. Use the + and - buttons to zoom in and out and click on the green pins to find out more about each location. If you would like to become a volunteer for the Mersey Rivers Trust, please email info@merseyrivers.org to find out about opportunities near you.



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