… was a community survey that aimed to find wildlife rich, clean water habitats in England and Wales. Volunteers used quick kits to measure the water quality of their local ponds, stream, ditches, river and much more.
Clean Water for Wildlife was a citizen science survey that aimed to raise awareness of the true extent of nutrient pollution, and identify clean water habitats in England and Wales, where wildlife can thrive and to reveal the extent of nutrient pollution impacting freshwater life today.
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.
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 were able to provide over 30,000 Packtest kits to volunteer to record the two of the most widespread and damaging nutrient pollutants: nitrate and phosphate.
Clean Water for Wildlife has now come to an end and we are not currently sending out test kits. However we are still accepting results.