River Invertebrate Classification Tool
June 2008


Background to research

The Regulatory Agencies in the UK (the Environment Agency; Scottish Environment Protection Agency; and the Environment & Heritage Service) currently use RIVPACS III+ software to classify the ecological quality of rivers. However, because RIVPACS III+ pre-dates the WFD, there has been a requirement to ensure that the RIVPACS reference sites are fully WFD compliant, to add new biotic indices to the RIVPACS models, and to improve the robustness of the RIVPACS software to fully meet the needs of the Agencies in their delivery of WFD monitoring. These issues have been addressed in this project and have led to the development of new RIVPACS IV predictive models that will be programmed into a new River Invertebrate Classification Tool being built by SEPA. This new system will be based on a modern software programming language, be compatible with the agencies’ computer systems and include the ability to predict new biological indices, produce biological status assessments based on these new indices and be able to estimate the errors involved in using these new indices. Because access to the new system will be essential for the UK Agencies to be able to implementation the WFD, the new tool will be readily and freely available to anyone who might seek to use it.

Objectives of research

Key findings and recommendations

This project has produced new RIVPACS IV models with considerably enhanced functionality compared to RIVPACS III+. These models incorporate:

These new RIVPACS IV models can be used by the UK Agencies across Great Britain and Northern Ireland in their WFD compliance monitoring. All of the algorithms, variables and data necessary to build these models have been provided to SEPA for programming into a new River Invertebrate Classification Tool that will be disseminated free of charge to all interested users

Key words: RIVPACS IV, River Invertebrate Classification Tool, Water Framework Directive

Copies of this report are available from the Foundation, in electronic format on CDRom at 20.00 + VAT or hard copy at 50.00, less 20% to FWR members.

N.B. The report is available for download from the SNIFFER Website