We take the woman's advice and travel upstream. We see drains going into the river. Are they polluting the water? We do a bug test to find out. Rick notices a culvert. Is this stopping some whitebait from travelling further upstream?
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Bug off! What is a bug test?
Lots of bugs (invertebrates) in water can be a sign that it is clean. You can find out how clean water is by counting the number and type of invertebrates living in it. Invertebrates are animals without backbones and include snails, mayflies, and dragonflies. In a healthy environment, you can get a thousand invertebrates per square metre of water.
Drain strain – river pollution
Many stormwater drains run straight into rivers. If the detergent used to clean a car or paint washed off a brush gets into river water, these chemicals can kill the fish's food supply. You should pour dirty water on the lawn, where it will disperse through the ground and be cleaned before it reaches the river.
Let me through! Fish passage
Whitebait travel up waterfalls, rocky faces, and sloping walls in their upstream migration. Some barriers, such as weirs, fords, and culverts, can stop them getting upstream. Just one poorly maintained culvert can cut off an entire stream system. It's easy to improve fish passage by building a not-too-steep "fish ramp" alongside the barrier or pipe.