The SWEPT volunteer project 2018-19 will recruit, organise, and train citizen science volunteers to
collect environmental data within the Milford Haven Waterway. This data (including the results of
water sample testing for nitrates and phosphates) will be used to better understand the effects of
land run-off upon the marine environment, and to lead to environmental improvements.

Prefer to read this post in Welsh? Please click here. Eisiau darllen yr erthygl hon yn Gymraeg? Cliciwch yma.

Kyoritsu PackTest nitrate kits (above right) will be used by volunteers to gauge levels of pollution. They are a simple, rapid and cost effective way to identify nutrient pollution, especially in large landscape-wide surveys where the costs of laboratory analysis are often prohibitive. Photo from Clean water for Wildlife Technical Guide.

The Waterway itself is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC – a European Marine Site) and also, along the foreshore, a Site of Scientific Interest. The Pembrokeshire Marine SAC (which extends around the Pembrokeshire coast and offshore) is currently in unfavourable condition within the Waterway due in part to nutrient pollution from agricultural run-off carrying fertilizers and sewage. The Milford Haven Waterway inner section (Pembroke River and upstream) is currently failing to meet ‘Good’ status which is required for Water
Framework Directive (WFD) compliance by 2027. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) routinely collect information on this but data on localised pollution sources is lacking. More data will help to identify problem areas and help to best target effective management effort. Volunteers’ data will therefore supplement NRW’s statutory monitoring and add to the evidence base upon which conservation management decisions can be taken by NRW. The data gathered will be presented in a final report as well as being provided throughout the project to NRW local staff to inform immediate pollution prevention.

 



Prolific opportunistic macroalgae (seaweed) growth on mudflats within the
Milford Haven Waterway as a result of elevated nutrient levels. (NRW)

 

It is hoped to recruit around 18 pairs of volunteers to walk 18 stretches of the Waterway foreshore
noting any pollution threats and conducting in situ testing of any freshwater inputs for nitrate and
phosphate pollution. Each volunteer will be expected to return to the same stretch of Waterway to
repeat their survey on 4 occasions between November 2018 and February 2019. In addition 4
water-based group activities and 4 shore-based (education-focused) activities will involve further
volunteers and more test samples and data generation within the study area.

Volunteers will be recruited during August – September 2018, with training in October and field work
activity occurring during November 2018 – February 2019. The project runs from July 2018 –
December 2019 and is funded via a grant from NRW. West Wales Rivers Trust are also providing
financial support.

SWEPT 2018-19 will take place on as much of the shoreline as possible within the Milford Haven
inner Waterway area. The area includes the Pembroke River, Cosheston Pill, Carew and Cresswell
Rivers as well as the Eastern and Western Cleddau. All of this area is within the Pembrokeshire
Marine SAC which extends up the Waterway to tidal limits.

SWEPT is being led by the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC Officer and co-delivered with the West Wales
Rivers Trust, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum and the Darwin Centre.

SWEPT aims to improve the resilience and quality of the Waterway through improved management
informed by the data and awareness raising generated by the project. Awareness raising of the issue
of land run-off affecting the marine environment is needed and will hopefully lead to behavioural
changes and a reduction in nutrient pollution within the Waterway resulting in improved ecological
status of the Milford Haven Waterway and improved condition of the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC.

Fill out an expression of interest in volunteering form here.

For further information please contact Sue Burton, Pembrokeshire Marine SAC Officer on Tel: 01646 696108/ 07881 334047 or sue@pembrokeshiremarinesac.org.uk