Volunteers being recruited to survey Windermere's water

Concerns have been raised about the health of the lake Credit: ITV

Scientists are looking to recruit volunteers for what is being billed the largest ever one day survey of conditions at Windermere.

The team will take samples from 100 sites around the lake in a single day to be analysed for nutrient and bacterial levels by teams from Lancaster University and the Freshwater Biological Association.

Concerns have been raised about the health of the lake in particular because of algal bloom and bacterial pollutants which can potentially harm wildlife and animals.

Dr Louise Lavictoire, Freshwater Biological Association, Head of Science said: "The Big Windermere Survey is an innovative community freshwater science initiative.

"Together, volunteers, professional scientists and catchment managers will take Citizen Science to the next level in terms of supporting evidence-led conservation action for Windermere."

Dr Ben Surridge, Senior Lecturer at Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University said: "Windermere is one of the most iconic bodies of freshwater in the country. It is of huge importance for people who live locally and the millions of visitors it attracts each year."

Anyone interested in volunteering in the summer can email windermere@fba.org.uk.

The survey will take one day Credit: ITV

It is supported by United Utilities which operates water treatment works and has said it will spend £230 million improving the quality of 184 kilometres of waterways in the north west england. 

It has pledged to reduce spills from storm overflow pipes by a third by 2025.

Some spills are allowed during heavy rain but there have been concerns the frequency of the spills is causing issues in waterways along with agricultural run off and issues with private septic tanks.

Jo Harrison, Environment, Planning and Innovation Director at United Utilities said: "As more people have come to appreciate the environment since the pandemic, there’s a real drive to improve our rivers and waterways. People want to swim, to enjoy riverside walks and get back to nature, and we have an important role to play by upgrading the sewerage infrastructure in the region.

"It’s a long term ambition, but we believe we can make some major improvements over the course of this decade, building upon the latest data that shows sewer spills have reduced by 28% between 2020 and 2021.

"But that’s only part of the solution; we can’t do this on our own. River health is affected by many factors so we’ve published this route map to show how we will get our own house in order and help others to get involved and work collaboratively. Ultimately, better rivers are better for everyone across the North West."

Matt Staniek has been campaigning for better river health and has regularly posted videos of algae blooms on Windermere, the conservationist has now formed the Windermere Lake Recovery Community Interest Company and is working with the National Trust on its first project .

He said: We are working on a farm in Langdale on natural solutions to mitigate water problems. We are absorbing phosphorus which is the main nutrient which is causing the decline of Windermere."