The River Obstacles project is a joint endeavour by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Rivers and Fisheries Trust for Scotland (RAFTS), the Environment Agency (EA) and the Nature Locator team.
There are thousands of man made and natural obstacles in the rivers of the UK. Many of the man made obstacles perform important functions – for example dams, sluices, weirs and road culverts – but they can also cause problems such as restricting the movement of fish, damaging river banks and beds, and posing a hazard to people using boats, canoes and kayaks.
We know where many of these obstacles are and what kind of impacts they cause, but we suspect that there are many more obstacles that we don’t know about, particularly in the more remote, upland areas of the UK. For this reason the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Rivers and Fisheries Trust for Scotland (RAFTS) and the Environment Agency (EA) have joined forces with the Nature Locator team to create a brand new, free to use mobile app for iphone and android devices that will enable people to send in photos and details of obstacles that they see when they’re out and about either on, in or by the UK’s rivers.
The information received from this app will be used by public bodies, groups of river users, local authorities and private companies to identify redundant man made obstacles that can be removed from rivers, and prioritise improvements to other obstacles that will yield the biggest environmental improvements. Information on natural obstacles will also be used to determine the natural limits to movement for different species of fish.