Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Projeto Rios, a partner project of myObservatory

Citizen science is increasingly being recognized as an important new component of environmental monitoring and Projeto Rios ( is a project that aims to respond to the lack of an effective involvement of citizens in the problems concerning the deterioration of rivers water bodies ecological status.

The project results from Projecte Rius, launched in Catalonia by "Associació Habitat for Projecte RIUS Catalunya" in 1997 and, through a protocol established between the Portuguese Association of Environmental Education ( and the "Associació Hàbitats for Projecte RIUS Catalunya", was extended to the Portuguese territory in 2006. All interested in being volunteers and actively participate in the national network of Projeto Rios must fill an application form identifying the responsible for the group and the river stretch to adopt. All stakeholders can sign up and participate actively in Projeto Rios: schools, associations, private and public companies, municipalities, scouts groups, third age homes, NGO’s, groups of friends and families.

Using an experimental scientific method to collect and record environmental data, the groups of Projeto Rios implement an adoption plan of a river stretch of 500 meters that include monitoring activities. Thus, the project pretends to promote a scientific curiosity and an affection for river ecosystems that would lead to a conscious change in the citizens behavior and, consequently, contribute to enrich the knowledge about the river bed and embankments and to eventually support decision making processes with the objective to improve the overall river ecologic status.

The project provides kits financed by the patrons, which contain files and tools to facilitate the interpretation of fauna, flora and field forms for recording the data of the river ecosystem. These field forms were, so far, available only on paper and did not allow, for that reason, the application of a mechanism to collect and centralize digital data generated by field trips.

The first field visit marks the start of the group activity and, being the first contact with the river stretch, aims to take stock of its main dysfunctions and status, taking into account accessibility and security issues, the monitoring points where, in all future field trips, the monitoring measures will be carried out. During this first approach, the group fills the first field visit form to systematize the knowledge and the needs assessment and thus prepare the subsequent field trips.

After a diagnosis, field visits start to take a much more detailed approach incorporating the analysis of biological, physical-chemical, hydromorphological parameters, biodiversity and data on land use, traditions and cultural and built heritage. Groups should make a minimum of two annual field visits (preferably in spring and autumn).

The key for a continued citizen involvement is the availability of detailed, relevant and understandable information. Therefore, having myObservatory as a partner, Projeto Rios has managed the developing of the “mO4Rivers” Web Mobile App in order to support a simple and quick data submission process conducting to an easy share of the information and of the knowledge obtained from data analytics processes. The need to develop “mO4Rivers” arises from the difficulties to collect and submit the data and processing it. The centralization of data using the App and myObservatory features will allow the volunteers and managers of the project disseminating the knowledge acquired and to encourage the adoption of more rivers. This will also allow the use of these datasets by researchers, teachers and authorities in an easy, georeferenced and documented way. More about the "mO4Rivers" Web Mobile App in a next post.


  1. Thanks, Vitor, for reporting on this wonderful project.
    For more information, visit our site at

  2. It is so exciting to hear about how myObservatory is being used around the world! Yet another community based citizen science project that I wish happened more here on Cape Cod.