9. Estimating Monitoring Costs

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9.1 Breaking down the cost elements

These will always be difficult to predict. Nonetheless, it is essential that sufficient resources are planned within the project budget. By planning-in monitoring at project conception there is more chance that this will be achieved.

9.1.1 Planning

Planning the monitoring – particularly setting well-defined objectives – is absolutely critical to saving money, time and effort in the latter stages. As such, one should explicitly budget sufficient resources to this phase. The cost of effective monitoring should not be underestimated and in some cases a budget of around of 10-20% of the full project should be considered as appropriate for detailed monitoring but this will vary significantly depending on the input and interest from local groups.

9.1.2 Data collection

Unless large amounts of data can be collected remotely, or early assessments of risk and scale indicate that only minimal monitoring is required, the actual on-the-ground data collection activities are likely to take up most of the monitoring budget.

Table 9.1, on the following pages, gives some indications of costs for a range of methods and scales of projects. Note also the potential savings of data collection in partnership with wider interest groups, as mentioned in Section 10.2 (Who should be involved in monitoring and why).

9.1.3 Interpretation and reporting

Ideally data should only be collected for the purpose of specific planned analyses which will relate directly to the monitoring objectives. In this way, the costs of interpretation can be limited. Cost of interpretation can quickly escalate. For example:

  • Where data collection is inconsistent since not initial clearly defined(see Shopham Loop case study)
  • Where dissemination is necessary for a number of audiences which may require multiple outputs.
  • Where detailed scientific analysis is required.

9.1.4 Estimating costs for data collection and analysis

Table 9.1 provides some outline costings related to different monitoring techniques. These are based on information collected from a range of sources. These are aimed to give some generic ideas of costs and are only here to provide some initial project estimates. More research and investigation will be necessary to provide detailed costs. For the purpose of Table 9.1 it is assumed that your river is less than 10m wide; larger than this can significantly affect cost estimates. Costs include data analysis and reporting but do not include equipment costs.

Note costs and lengths initially collated from questionnaires completed at a monitoring workshop in 2010. If you would like to contribute to updating this, please email RRC.

Table 9.1: Costings – based on river less than 10m in width and does not include equipment costs.
Method Length (KM) Cost Notes
Fixed Point Photography 1 £200 - £1,000
RRC Rapid Assessment 0.5 £200
Habitat mapping (biotope) 0.5 £200
Habitat mapping (RCS) 0.5 £200
Citizen Science Macro-invertebrates 5 £100 - £300
Unit-time invertebrate survey 1 £2,000
Unit-area invertebrate survey 1 £2,000
River Habitat Survey 0.5 £170
Urban River Survey 0.5 £150
Expert fisheries observation 5 £500
Angler catch 2 £150
Electro-fishing 0.2 £750 per day Equipment costs can amount to approximately £5,000
Fish netting 0.05 - 0.2 £750 per day Equipment costs can amount to approximately £2,000
Fish trapping 10 £10,000 per year A fixed position fish trap will only occupy a few metres of river channel length and width, but effectively monitors upstream fish migration into whatever length of river exists upstream of that position. Cost of equipment can be inexpensive for temporary traps (£100s) or considerable for permanent traps (10s of thousands of pounds).

Fyke nets inexpensive (£100s of pounds).

Hydro-acoustics 10 £750 per survey Equipment costs can easily amount to over £10,000
Fish Counter 10 £3,000 - £5,000 A fixed position fish counter will only occupy a few metres of river channel, but effectively monitors upstream fish migration into whatever length of river exists upstream of that position. Does not include equipment costs which can easily amount to 10s of thousands of pounds.
Fish tagging 1 £200 per day Equipment costs can easily amount to over £10,000. Length in the context of assessing habitat use in restoration schemes.
Macrophyte Survey (LEAFPACS) 1 £400
JNCC Survey 1 £400
Quadrat/NVC 0.01 £20
Aerial Photography 0.001 - 5 £2,000
GeoRHS 5 £130
Topographic survey 5 - 10 (ha) £2,000 - £4,500 Based on easily accessible floodplain area
Repeat Cross Section 1 £2,000 - £4,500 Approximately 20 cross-sections
Geomorphological Mapping 1 £3,000
Fluvial Audit 5 £1,000 Typically requires 2 people
LiDAR 20 £6,000
Trash Lines 1 £250
Water levels £595
Spot gauging £30 - £50 per gauge
Velocities £30 - £50 per gauge
Rainfall-runoff modelling £5,000 - £10,000 per site