Reviewing techniques for monitoring fine sediments
Freshwater pearl mussels are critically endangered in Europe, with many of the largest remaining populations in Scotland. A number of studies in Europe have monitored fine sediment, or its effects, in relation to freshwater pearl mussel populations. As a result, fine sediment is recognised as one of the principal pressures affecting the species across its current range. In the UK, there is no current, agreed method for monitoring and regulating fine sediment in rivers.
In order to better understand the relationship between fine sediment, alongside other water quality issues, there is a desire to establish a continuous water quality monitoring programme in Scotland, focussed on key sites. A continuous or automated sampling programme offers the ability to measure and evaluate episodic inputs (which are often missed by routine sampling programmes) and how these may affect resident pearl mussels. At present there is uncertainty about how best to monitor fine sediments.
A review of current monitoring methods: A review and evaluation of the current methods for monitoring fine sediment and recommendations as to how fine sediments should be monitored within the programme mentioned above.
Stakeholder workshop: The output of the review will form the basis of a workshop to discuss and agree the best way forward for the larger, future monitoring programme.