Monitoring rivers using bio-indicators provide the most integrative view of river health. With increasing industrialization, population growth, land-use changes and developmental challenges, the natural ability of rivers to provide goods and services has been severely curtailed.
A project designed jointly by the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and the Asia Pacific Network of Global Change Research (APN) has taken up this issue and trained a cohort of 41 Indian stakeholders consisting of educationists, policymakers, scientists and practitioners and members of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) in a comprehensive assessment of River health using Bio Indicators- the aquatic and benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, algae, diatoms and macrophytes including riparian vegetation. An 8-day use-inspired theory and solution-oriented river expedition were the prime features of the training which was conducted in two cohorts in 2022 March 14 to 16 and 18-22, April. The hands-on activities included transect studies of the Kerala river, Pampa, starting from its hilly watershed, populated mid-plains and the lower Kuttanad and the Vembanad lake in the backwaters of the Arabian sea.