We have trialled a pilot citizen science method in Chesham, looking for sources of sediment into the River Chess.
MudSpotter surveys are carried out in wet weather and involve walking along the course of the river, using a mobile phone (or paper sheets) to instantly record data and images online.
We do this during wet weather, as sediment most often enters rivers during rainfall events, when it is washed in from roads as runoff, from farmland, due to bank erosion, etc.
By identifying sources of sediment into the river within urban environments, we are working with local councils to provide them with details that can assist in their decision-making to fix problem areas.
What have we found so far?
So far, we have identified a number of problem areas in Chesham during wet weather MudSpotter surveys that have been a great cause of concern.
Many sediment sources originate around the Old Town, some between Germain St. and Meades Water Garden, and others down towards Chesham Gym & Swim.
One of the most problematic sediment sources within Chesham is the Vale Brook culvert, emerging into the River Chess behind Water Meadow Surgery.
We need more data recorded to increase our understanding of the frequency and intensity of events, in comparison with groundwater levels and rainfall data.
We have been working with a consultancy and local councils to create a plan to tackle this siltation source, including costing up various plans that could help us to prevent fine sediment building up in the River Chess around Chesham.
Keen to help in Chesham or Rickmansworth?
Citizen scientists at work
We have trained a good number of people to carry out MudSpotter surveys in Chesham, to which we owe all of you our thanks for piloting and collecting data for this important survey.
We do, however, owe a huge thanks to Ian and Holly who have consistently braved wet and windy conditions to help us collect frequent MudSpotter data in the town centre, as well as further downstream on the River Chess.