LANCASTER (CU)_Concerns over the environment have been drawing more collaborations between academic institutions and citizen scientists across the world.
‘Love Your Lake: Big Windermere Survey’ is a project conducted by researchers at Lancaster University and the Freshwater Biological Association, is the beginning of a long-term monitoring project. The findings have been published in one of the largest ever citizen science survey exploring the water quality of Windermere – England’s largest natural lake.
The independently analyzed survey findings are available to the public that also has Love Windermere Partnership which hopes to produce evidence-based, long-term plans to enhance the water quality of Windermere.
Dr Ben Surridge, Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University and a lead investigator for the survey, stated that prominent concerns have been raised surrounding the condition of Windermere, which was mainly due to the cyanobacterial blooms and bacterial pollution. Dr Surridge, also expressed his appreciation for the volunteers of the study stating that the growing scientifically robust dataset across the catchment will give the evidence needed to handle the sources of pollution.
“The survey is not intended to be an isolated event and our ambition is that this will be the first of an ongoing series of quarterly sampling events on Windermere and its catchment. These first results provide one data point in time and we should always use caution to draw conclusions from single data points. Repeated surveys will extend these first results and create a scientifically robust picture of how water quality varies across the catchment,” said another lead investigator Dr Louise Lavictoire of the Freshwater Biological Association.
Scientists behind the Big Windermere Survey put together a team of 100 dedicated volunteers who gathered water samples from 93 sites across the Leven catchment. This catchment contains iconic Lake District bodies of water, including Windermere, Grasmere, Rydal Water, Blelham Tarn and Esthwaite Water, alongside the rivers and streams flowing into Windermere.