Clean Water for Wildlife

Picture3 is a community survey which aims to find wildlife rich, clean water habitats in England and Wales. Take part to find out whether the ponds, streams and rivers in your neighbourhood are really good enough for wildlife.

front sampling photo

Clean Water for Wildlife is a citizen science survey that aims to raise awareness of the true extent of nutrient pollution, and identify clean water habitats in England and Wales, with the ultimate aim of helping to protect biodiversity.

Most freshwater plants and animals evolved over millions of years in a world where the natural level of nutrients in ponds, lakes, streams and rivers was very low. When more nutrients are added to the freshwater environment this can cause profound changes and the freshwater wildlife struggle to adapt.

We define ‘clean water’ as that which has a chemistry and biology which would be normal for a given area in the absence of human disturbance. This is commonly referred to as the reference condition, minimally impaired water quality or natural background levels.

Sadly, it only takes a little pollution to damage habitats like streams and ponds, and to harm the most sensitive plants and animals that call these places home. When ‘clean water’ is lost, we risk losing this variety and richness of life.

With your help, the Clean Water for Wildlife survey aims to find the hidden gems – places which are free from pollution and where wildlife still thrives. The survey also aims to discover for the first time, the true extent of nutrient pollution facing freshwater wildlife today.

Until recently it has been difficult to discover the level of nutrients in any individual waterbody without expensive laboratory analysis. Newly developed rapid water-testing kits are much quicker, simpler and more accurate than in the past, making it possible for most people to ‘see’ the pollution for the first time.

With funding from the People, Ponds and Water HLF funded project, we are able to provide free Packtest kits: focusing on recording the two of the most widespread and damaging nutrient pollutants: nitrate and phosphate.

To get involved and request your Clean Water kits, visit the Taking part in Clean Water for Wildlife page, or if you are in a group please see our group activity page

To send us your Clean Water for Wildlife results, please enter your results through our WaterNet page, or email your results to: