TRAINING and TECHNICAL SUPPORT
The best way to encourage and facilitate the use of the spatial data in GIS applications is to train practitioners to develop their GIS and spatial data skills and, in so doing, build capability in their organisations. Environmental professionals are often highly ‘geographically literate’, but they do still require specialised, application-based training to become skilled GIS technicians who can then incorporate the robust and effective use of GIS into their day-to-day work.
To meet the growing demand for GIS training in the environmental sector Westcountry Rivers Trust have teamed up with the University of Reading, The Scottish Fisheries Coordination Centre (SFCC) and the Catchment Based Approach Support Group to develop a series of intensive GIS short-courses specifically tailored to develop and disseminate best practice and technical GIS skills for practitioners engaged in catchment management planning, landscape ecology, fisheries science, river restoration, ecology and conservation biology.
See a recent flyer for more information, including contact details to find out about upcoming courses.
PINPOINT is a joint project between The Rivers Trust and Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery to provide training, support and advice materials to individual rivers trusts and CaBA partnerships, so that they can better advise farmers in England on how to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture.
The PINPOINT website has a wealth of resources, including:
- Online best practice information sheets
- Templates to assist in the production of Integrated Farm Resource Plans
- Templates for setting up Angling Passport Schemes
Regular training courses covering Diffuse Water Pollution from Agriculture and Fluvial Geomorphology are run by The Rivers Trust - see the PINPOINT website for further information and contact details.
Catchment Sensitive Farming is a partnership project between Defra, Natural England and The Environment Agency.
In December 2016, The Rivers Trust ran a water quality training workshop for CaBA partners involved in the Natural Course LIFE Integrated Project in the NW River Basin District. The aim of the workshop was to show what sort of information can be gleaned from different types of water quality monitoring data, and to make available a suite of tools and resources to help access and analyse existing data, and plan future collaborative monitoring strategies.
The citizen science and volunteer monitoring resource pack has been collated to support the CaBA partnerships in their work to protect and enhance the freshwater environment, and has been updated in 2016 with additional equipment and case studies.
This isn’t an exhaustive guide, but rather a collection of useful links, contacts, technical references and case studies which other CaBA partnerships have used and shared. Download the updated 2016 guide as a PDF.
The Catchment Data User Group has also debated the potential for citizen science and volunteer monitoring to provide a robust evidence base and drafted some initial guidance around minimum evidence requirements for different environmental monitoring techniques:
1. Querying and Interpreting the EA’s OpenWIMS Water Quality Archive
a. Paul Hulme's session - querying the OpenWIMS data archive and plotting a time series for a single sample point
OpenWIMS Exercise (Exercise taking you through how to access OpenWIMS and how to construct a query URL for a single sample point)
OpenWIMS Blank Template (Excel workbook to help download, format and plot water quality data from a single monitoring point)
OpenWIMS River Medlock Example (The OpenWIMS excel workbook with River Medlock example data)
OpenWIMS Measurement RMedlock (the downloaded CSV file from the URL query in the above workbook)
Answer sheet - OpenWIMS Exercise (Answer sheet for the exercise)
UKTAG Phosphate Standards Calculator (Cycle 2 phosphate standards vary in each waterbody, depending on altitude and alkalinity. this calculator helps you work out the standard for your river, so that you can plot this against phosphate measurements.)
WFD Standards and Classifications Directions (England and Wales) 2015 (PDF detailing the various WFD standards, including water chemistry standards.
Atkins Freeware Water Quality Viewer (another visualisation tool for graphing multiple determinands at single sampling points)
b. Michelle Walker's session - building more complex spatial queries and mapping results
OpenWIMS Batch Exercise (Exercise taking you through how to use the Water Quality Sampling Points Finder to select and download a subset of points for your catchment, and then use the OpenWIMS Batch Query Constructor to write custom queries).
Water Quality Sampling Points Finder (Interactive map to help find and select a subset of monitoring points for querying the OpenWIMS water quality archive)
OpenWIMS Batch Query Constructor (Excel workbook to streamline construction of more complex queries)
Mapping Open WIMS data example map (ArcGIS Online map showing a subset of results downloaded from OpenWIMS)
2. Continuous v Regular v Spot Sampling – what difference does time make?
Observations on Chemical Water Quality Monitoring (paper by Peter Lloyd exploring the different information which can be derived from continuous versus spot sampling downstream of sewage discharges)
Continuous v Spot Sampling STW Exercise (Worked example showing what information can be derived from different temporal resolutions of data).
Appendix to the Exercise (additional notes)
Answer sheet - Continuous v Spot Sampling STW Exercise (Answers to the questions posed in the Exercise sheet)
Find out more about continuous monitoring kit in the CaBA Citizen Science and Volunteer Monitoring Guide
3. Water quality spot testing for targeting catchment interventions
(Simon Browning, Westcountry Rivers Trust)
Catchment scorecard template - coming soon.
4. Freshwater Watch – Citizen Science for Informing Catchment Management
(Ian Thornhill, Earthwatch)
Presentation - coming soon
Worksheet - coming soon
5. Creating a Monitoring Plan as part of a Catchment Plan
(David Johnson, The Rivers Trust)
Water Quality Monitoring Plan Exercise (Develop a collaborative water quality monitoring strategy for your catchment)
Water Quality Monitoring Plan Template (A worksheet to help guide you through the process of planning a collaborative WQ monitoring strategy to answer questions in your catchment. Includes some examples)
The River Restoration Centre - Practical River Restoration Appraisal Guidance for Monitoring Options (PRAGMO) www.therrc.co.uk/monitoring-guidance
Guidance on monitoring protocols, and how to plan the right things to monitor to demonstrate success for river restoration projects. Includes monitoring planner template, which we have adapted to create the above template.
RRC also run associated training courses – see the RRC website for details.
The Rivers Trust has some guidance documents giving practical suggestions, templates and legal guidace on Managing Volunteers and Health & Safety
The Rivers Trust also offer an Outdoor Emergency First Aid and River Safety Course Suitable for volunteer coordinators and monitoring teams.
Contact us on 01579 372142 to find out about future course dates.
The online version of the Scimap Risk Modelling framework became available in 2016. Go to My.Scimap to register for an account.
The Rivers Trust have shared a video tutorial showing how to run the model, and display the outputs in desktop GIS, Google Earth and ArcGIS Online.
Training resources for the desktop tool are available Scimap website
The CaBA support programme is tailored to meet the needs of the Catchment Partnerships based on feedback from workshops, conferences and other events.
At the Citizen Science and Volunteer Monitoring workshops in 2015, attendees were asked to prioritise their support requirements for various types of catchment monitoring and surveying - here are the results:
Don't forget to publicise any upcoming training which may be of interest to Catchment Partnerships on the Discussion Forum