A riverfly survey on the Wharfe was one of hundreds of wildlife surveys carried out or commissioned by the National Park Authority this spring and summer.
A three-minute gentle kick of the sediment at Linton Steps saw a large number of nymphs of mayflies and caddis flies caught in a net, suggesting good water quality, although invasive signal crayfish were present.
Wildlife or farm conservation officers have also monitored mammals, birds, plants and butterflies, and have carried out habitat condition surveys to support farmers entering agri-environment agreements.
The aim is to understand the state of nature in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. All the data — together with information collected by many other organisations —will be represented in the triennial ‘Trends and Status Report’, to be published by the Yorkshire Dales Biodiversity Forum in the backend.
Senior Wildlife Conservation Officer Tony Serjeant, who conducted the riverfly survey with Land Management and Conservation Apprentice Lizzy Grieve (see pictures), said: “The Riverfly Survey helps us work out the health of the river in terms of the life it supports. Right at the bottom of the food chain there are these invertebrates, which become the mayflies and the stoneflies eaten by fish, birds, bats and all sorts of wildlife. It’s a national survey that we’ve been taking part in for about three years now, run by the Riverfly Partnership. We’ve been playing a minor role by contributing results from this particular site at Linton Steps. The Freshwater Biological Association maintains the databases and accept the records – so there is a whole network of people doing this survey across the country. It’s the way we want to go with our whole monitoring programme, aligning ourselves with national programmes – and always working in partnership with others.”