Catchment Systems Thinking Co-Operative (CaSTCo): Creating a framework for citizen science monitoring in the Western Rother and Arun 

Catchment Systems Thinking Co-Operative (CaSTCo) is focused on creating a step-change in the contribution of citizen science within integrated catchment management (ICM). Ecosystems services are often a key part of this, potentially leading to both natural and societal benefits. During this project, we will give thought to a full range of management approaches when considering how a citizen science monitoring framework could contribute to ICM and further enhance the evidence-base that underpins this approach. 

CaSTCo also provides an opportunity to showcase how integrating co-design into the development of a citizen science project prior to its launch will likely result in a greater uptake and more meaningful engagement from stakeholders. Our involvement, as social scientists, offers a strong opportunity to build long-lasting relationships between stakeholders alongside developing a greater understanding of their needs and how they can contribute to integrated catchment management through citizen science approaches.   

During this project, the CCRI will work closely with local land managers and other relevant stakeholders, including Southern Water representatives, local NGOs, farm advisors, and others to be identified during a stakeholder mapping exercise. Through engaging with these stakeholders on repeated occasions, we will ensure that the project is truly co-researched and co-designed, an approach that other researchers working in hydrological contexts have found to occur where multiple perspectives are considered throughout (e.g., SLIM project, see Collins et al, 2007).   

Funded by Southern Water, this initial part of the project will take place over a six-month period during 2023. The CCRI team includes Dr Charlotte Chivers, Chris Short and Dr Jane Mills. 

CCRI REF: 2022-062