Thames Water For Wildlife

HLF useThames Water LogoJoin the citizen science survey and help discover fantastic freshwater habitats, free from pollution and great for wildlife, across the Thames Water region. Open to individuals, groups and schools.

6_New pond in North Wales to encourage Great Crested Newts

This year marks the beginning of Thames Water for Wildlife. An exciting new citizen science survey of the Thames Water region where individuals, groups and schools can help us to discover more about the wonderful freshwater that surrounds us.

Clean and unpolluted water is crucial to the amazing freshwater wildlife that makes its home in the Thames Water region. However it only take a little pollution to cause the loss of sensitive plants and animals. Nutrient pollution from human activities, such as agricultural run-off and waste water, is having a detrimental effect on freshwater life. Although the levels of excess nutrients are being monitored in the major rivers, there is still a mosaic of thousands of pond, lakes, ditches and streams that are overlooked. These unmonitored freshwaters can hold the most fantastic habitats, free from pollution, and yet we know so little about their water quality.

Project Aims:

To discover the best and most unpolluted freshwater habitats, detect the true extent of nutrient pollution and help to monitor some of the wildlife that depends on clean water.

What makes the Thames region so special? Discover more about the freshwater heritage of the Thames Water region


 The Project

There are three aspects of Thames Water for Wildlife you can sign up for:

Part of a School? click here!

Clean Water for Wildlife

(open to organisations, groups and schools)

This element of the project aims to create a map of water quality across the Thames region.  To do this we will supply schools, volunteer groups and youth groups with quick and easy water quality testing kits. These kits measure the levels of nitrate and phosphate, pollutants that pose a major risk to wildlife, and will uncover the best and most unpolluted local freshwaters.

The project will gather vital information, which can help to change the way we manage our landscape for freshwater wildlife. Volunteers can directly use the results to help conserve special freshwater sites, discover more about their favourite watery places. We also offer support to groups and schools to help learn about, enjoy and conserve their favourite freshwater sites. Put everyone’s results together and we can build up a picture of the state of water quality and the impact is has on wildlife across the Thames Water Region.

Rare Species Monitoring Surveys 

(open to organisations, groups and  schools)

On top of this we will offer training and opportunities to volunteers who want to undertake rare species surveys to monitor the unique and fascinating wildlife that depend on unpolluted water.

Great Crested Newt environmental DNA surveys

(Surveys closed for the year) 

Last spring volunteers used the new and innovative environmental DNA (eDNA) surveying technique to monitor Great Crested Newt distribution across the Thames Water Region. These newts have a secretive nocturnal life style that in the past, has presented a challenge for those trying to find out which ponds are important to them. Thanks to eDNA, it’s possible to find this out using a simple water sample which is analysed in a lab for any residual DNA that may have been left by the newts.


The Thames Water Region

Thames Water Catchment

Thames Region

The project will feed into PondNet, our national survey, to help develop a deeper understanding of the region’s freshwater ecology. Thames Water for Wildlife is part of the heritage lottery funded People, Ponds and Water.

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Thames Water. As a responsible steward for the natural environment, Thames Water are keen to ensure that everyone has a chance to better understand, appreciate and enjoy our wonderful freshwater habitats and the unique species they contain.

Interested in becoming a Thames Water for Wildlife volunteer then please email peoplepondswater@freshwaterhabitats.org.uk