The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and its English counterpart (the Environment Agency) have completed a joint project to develop a river obstacles application for smart phones.
The idea is that the general public can record in-river manmade and natural obstacles whilst out and about. The results will help to inform and hone both agency’s barriers data, improving the accuracy of Water Framework Directive waterbody classification and also identifying unknown barriers for potential prioritisation. RAFTS has been involved in the development of the application, and sat on the project steering group throughout the process.
The application has two stages; an initial mandatory section which must be completed (consisting of a photo and a few basic questions) and then a second optional section for additional data, which will be particularly relevant to you given your experience. If a member of the public comes across an in-river obstacle, takes a picture (answering at least the mandatory questions) and then hits the submit button it will be verified (an initial check just to ensure the record is real). It will then appear as a record on the river obstacles website. SEPA will copy these records to their dataset and could therefore potentially use this data for Water Framework Directive classification purposes (once validated) and to inform barrier prioritisation.
The application itself is available for download through the App Store (for iphones/iOS) and Google Play (for android phones), and is free of charge. It can be found either by searching for ‘river obstacles’ on either of these platforms, or through the associated website (which also provides more information) – http://www.river-obstacles.org.uk/
RAFTS would like to take this opportunity to thank the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, without whose support we would not have been able to assist in the development and testing of the application.