This initiative aims to build a shared understanding of priority freshwater habitats and a common vision for how we restore natural habitat function in our rivers and lakes. It brings a range of partners together, including statutory agencies, NGOs and universities/academic research teams. A key area for collaboration is on the links between related citizen science initiatives so that data can be shared and used for multiple purposes.
The FBA is committed to spreading and sharing knowledge of freshwater habitats and their wildlife, and leads on developing and maintaining this web page through a Memorandum of Agreement with Natural England.
Natural England is the Government’s adviser on the natural environment and has a lead role in promoting nature conservation and protecting biodiversity. National freshwater specialists have led the development of the technical rationale for priority river and lake habitats in England, in collaboration with the partners listed here and individuals on the Rivers and Lakes Stakeholder Groups.
The Environment Agency is the lead Government agency for the water environment and has a critical role in protecting and restoring priority freshwater habitats, as well as restoring natural function to the wider freshwater habitat resource.
The Wildlife Trusts have an extensive network of reserves and large and active memberships. They have taken a lead role in the development of Biodiversity Factsheets on freshwater and wetland habitats, which help Catchment Partnerships to consider natural habitat function in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive.
The National Trust is committed to improving habitats on its landholdings and is actively working on evaluating the biodiversity importance of its freshwater habitats and identifying restoration needs.
The Freshwater Habitats Trust runs a range of citizen science initiatives, particularly on small water bodies. It is the lead body for pond priority habitat and has been responsible for considerable improvements to our understanding of the distribution of small water bodies (particularly ponds) with good water quality and those which support rare species.
The Riverfly Partnership has an extensive network of citizen scientists gathering data on the environmental quality of our rivers and streams. These data are playing an important role in highlighting impacts that are not amenable to detection by statutory environmental monitoring programmes.
Nottingham Trent University has a research team focused on advancing our ecohydrological understanding of temporary rivers and streams. Current projects are modelling ecological responses to hydrological variability including drought events, and developing biomonitoring tools that recognise the both the aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity value of dynamic stream ecosystems.
The Wild Trout Trust is a conservation charity that focuses on practical work to improve freshwater habitats across the UK and Ireland by working in partnership with Rivers Trusts, Wildlife Trusts, local conservation volunteer groups, fishing clubs, landowners and Government Agencies. They give inspiration to others by providing the expert advice and practical skills necessary to allow them to restore and maintain lakes and rivers for the benefit of all wildlife and future generations.
Through the Riverfly Census and now SmartRivers, Salmon & Trout Conservation are using aquatic invertebrates as a diagnostic test, to understand more about the subtle, but significant, water quality pressures stressing juvenile fish. They are using citizen scientists to collect species-level data, that can be used as evidence to shape policies that will drive improvements to rivers nationally.