New field season for public river watch begins

The nutrient load on water bodies, marine litter, and microplastics issues were discussed at the annual workshop for public river watch. This year new participants joined the network: heads of school environmental groups, specialists of additional education, and volunteers. The workshop attendees tested research methods and planned field trips to water bodies of the Gulf of Finland basin.

International methodology of river watch and manual for public environmental monitoring were developed by specialists of non-governmental organization Friends of the Baltic and Ecocentrum. The technique is easy to use and includes visual observations of water bodies and shores, simple physical, chemical, and biological methods, thus it is suitable for students and activists who have no or little experience in such studies. At the training on April 3, Olga Senova, the head of the Working group on basin management and wastewater of Coalition Clean Baltic, presented the manual that contains detailed methodology description and recommendations for the use of public observations results.

The workshop participants tried the express methods of nitrates and phosphates concentration measurement, learnt to detect the amount of ammonium, acidity, total hardness, and mineralization.

The microplastics issue gets more and more discussed, so we devoted the special workshop section to it. The experts of Friends of the Baltic, Ecocentrum, and the Center for Environmental Solutions (Belarus) designed the methodology of public monitoring of microplastics water pollution.  

Marine litter is also one of the most challenging environmental issues. Taking part in its monitoring which is regularly carried out by public environmental monitoring network could be interesting for teachers, activists, and local residents who care about the state of the Gulf of Finland and its coasts. Friends of the Baltic recently presented a new international textbook “Know Feel Act! To Stop Marine Litter”.

The workshop hosts also introduced the Public watch of natural waters map that was developed with support of "Nature and people" programme of Coalition Clean Baltic. Everyone involved in public environmental monitoring could upload the received results on the following topics: the content of nitrates or microplastics in water bodies, potential sources of nutrient load, and misfunctioning sewage treatment plants.

We presented new international project “Water meets people: learn, act, and influence” (SEVIRA) that seeks to contribute to improvement of environmental state of Sestra, Viruyoki and Seleznevka (Fin. Rakkolnjoki) rivers. The project combines scientific actions and public monitoring. The first school researches are planned to begin in May.

If you’re interested in taking part in public water bodies monitoring, feel free to contact us. We also encourage teachers and students to participate in annual youth conference on environmental monitoring of small rivers and the Gulf of Finland coasts, which will be held in October, 2019.

All the materials and photos of the meeting are available here.