Thames21 launches a new citizen science project for the tidal Thames

Thames River Watch will enable Londoners to get closer to the river and involved with understanding the health of the tidal Thames.

It isn’t easy to get a true picture of the health of the tidal Thames. Whilst the river has improved massively over the last 60 years and now supports loads of fish, it still looks brown, and we know that it is dirty and polluted with millions of tonnes of sewage which pour into the Thames when it rains.

Water quality testing on the tidal Thames foreshore. Photo by Corporate Headshots London

Thames River Watch has been developed and is managed by leading waterway charity Thames21. It aims to dispel myths about the river by engaging volunteers right at the water’s edge.

Funded by the Thames Tideway Tunnel for three years, the project will work with individuals, partner groups, schools and businesses to gather important data about water quality, litter and wildlife in the tidal Thames, from Teddington out to Haven Point, Essex and Warden Point, Isle of Sheppey.

The information gathered by volunteers will provide valuable data and pinpoint issues and problems that need to be addressed, and will be available to all.

The Thames River Watch Project coordinator, Julia Makin of Thames21 said: “We’re really excited about Thames River Watch and the opportunities it provides. By undertaking tests and surveys directly at the water’s edge, volunteers will have unprecedented access to the truth about the health of the river. The more people that get involved, the more accurate the picture will be which is why we’re inviting everybody to participate.”

Litter picking is a vital aspect of Thames River Watch. Photo by Corporate Headshots London

Phil Stride, head of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, said: “Thames River Watch will create a source of data to chart the health of the river over time and display those results in a way everyone can access and understand. This is an excellent initiative and we are proud to be supporting it.”

Thames River Watch launched to the public on February 17th 2014, and was marked with a lively event on the Thames foreshore in front of Gabriel’s Wharf. Guests and speakers included Murad Qureshi, London wide Assembly Member; Kevin Reid, Principal Programme Manager, Greater London Authority and Roger Bailey, Head of Asset Delivery, Thames Tideway Tunnel.

At the launch event, Murad Qureshi, London wide Assembly Member said: “As the tidal Thames exercises its natural sovereignty with the floods, it is important we learn to live with it in London. Projects like the Thames River Watch delivered by Thames21, will do just that as it helps businesses, schools & foreshore communities appreciate the tidal waters, its flora & fauna, test its water quality and continue to reduce the litter along its shores”.

Thames River Watch launched on February 17th 2014. Photo by Corporate Headshots London


To register for Thames River Watch please click here:

If you have already registered, you can fill out the training booking form here:

For people and organisations to get involved in Thames River Watch, send an e-mail to