Dead fish at Long Load – citizen science group offer data

A citizen science project has been monitoring phosphate levels on the River Parrett for over two years. Dr Andrew Clegg and a small team of volunteers have been taking phosphate readings on the river system. That includes smaller tributaries and drains. The idea of the project is to get a clearer picture of how phosphate levels vary, where they vary and ultimately why they vary.

Following the death of over 100 fish on the River Yeo they have offered to share their data. The Environment Agency (EA) reported 115 fish found dead at Long Load on 8 March. The EA said that their officers identified 114 dead roach and 1 dead chub. The focus of their investigation is on pollution coming from the King’s Moor Main Drain.

Dr Clegg reported that he had been able to test both that drain and Witcombe Bottom Drain. He also tested the water in the Yeo. Interesting his test samples suggested the main source of phosphate was the Witcombe Bottom Drain. That measured 1.25 ppm compared to the Kings Moor Drain where the phosphate measured was 0.39 ppm.

The data has been offered to the EA to use as they try to track down the source of the pollution.

The status of the Levels is currently rated as ‘unfavourable declining’ in June 2021 by Natural England. This followed water quality monitoring that revealed phosphate levels three times higher than they should be. That said Natural England was causing biological harm and producing algae and duckweed that is harmful to wildlife.

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