The Big Windermere Survey

by Freshwater Biological Association in Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom

The Big Windermere Survey

Total raised £380

Gift Aid
+ est. £95.00
£30,000 target 49 days left
1% 4 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 7th July 2024 at 10:00am

Help fund the Big Windermere Survey. Support local citizen science and the ecological health of Windermere.

by Freshwater Biological Association in Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom

Help fund the next Big Windermere Survey. Support local volunteer citizen science and the ecological health of Windermere.

Launched in 2022 by the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) and Lancaster University, the Big Windermere Survey has trained local volunteer citizen scientists to help monitor the ecological health of Windermere and its surrounding catchment. Using professional, rigorous and accredited laboratories, citizen scientists enable mass collection of water samples, allowing us to gain a catchment-wide snapshot of water and bacteriological quality on a specific day. The Big Windermere Survey has completed eight rounds of surveys representing two full years of data spanning the four seasons for 2022/23 and 2023/24. 

Windermere is an internationally iconic freshwater lake in the heart of the Lake District National Park - vital for business, tourism, recreation, conservation, and wildlife. However, concerns have been raised about the health of the lake. In particular, there are concerns about algal blooms and bacterial pollution which are potentially harmful to animals and humans. 

Role of the Big Windermere Survey

The survey focuses on the key nutrients and bacteria that lie behind these issues, contributing to the scientific understanding of water quality in the Leven catchment. The survey has already generated community-focused action and continues to support the development of future initiatives to improve lake conditions.

This action includes generating awareness and communication between local landowners, residents, businesses, campaign groups, United Utilities, and the Environment Agency. The survey has already sparked local investigation and monitoring into higher phosphorus and bacterial concentrations from multiple wastewater sources and misconnections across the catchment.

How the Big Windermere Survey works

The FBA train volunteer citizen scientists to collect water samples from over 100 locations on Windermere and the rivers and lakes that flow into it.


Over the past eight surveys we have received huge volunteer support ranging from experienced freshwater ecologists to local swimmers and families. No previous experience is required, yet our volunteers follow rigorous guidelines to ensure data are of the highest quality, enabling its use as powerful evidence of the current ecological state of freshwaters within the catchment.

The samples are analysed for nutrient and bacterial concentrations at independent laboratories, producing the largest one-day snapshot of conditions in Windermere. Individual summary reports are produced following each survey and shared under our Big Windermere Survey results section. Our open-access datasets are also available on our cartographer platform. 

We have also hosted engagement events locally to share findings with our invested communities and enable opportunities for the community to ask questions and learn more.

Funding The Big Windermere Survey

It costs £30,000 to run each survey. These costs include our water sampling kits, lab analysis, logistics, staffing, science hubs, transport, data mapping platform, and community engagement. We have been fortunate to receive generous funding from multiple local organisations for the past eight surveys. 

However, now we need your help. To continue funding the Big Windermere Survey, we need to raise an initial £30,000 to fund our summer 2024 survey. Raising more than our initial target will also support the future of the Big Windermere Survey e.g. raising £120,000 would support all four surveys between 2024/25. 

We are open to donations from individuals and organisations.

For organisations, we are offering donation packages that enable you to become official sponsors of the Big Windermere Survey (Summer 2024). Your organisation will be promoted during our engagement events which will be seen by our growing local, national, and international audiences. 

We are incredibly grateful to all the volunteers and donors who have helped support the survey over the past two years, but without further financial support, Windermere may lose this vital monitoring and research programme.

Please consider supporting local citizen science and the ecological health of Windermere today. Thank You!


What our Citizen Science Volunteers have to say

What the BWS Team have to say

For more information about the Big Windermere Survey, please visit: or contact us at [email protected]

You can also follow us on: Twitter (Now 'X'), Instagram, and LinkedIn.



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£300 or more

1 of 110 claimed

Sponsor a Site (Summer 2024)

Sponsor one of our 110 sites for our Summer 2024 survey. Your organisation will be featured in our BWS promotions and engagement events.

£2,500 or more

0 of 4 claimed

Sponsor a Science Hub (Summer 2024)

Sponsor one of our four science hubs at our Summer 2024 survey. Your organisation will be featured in our BWS promotions and engagement events.

£5,000 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Sponsor our Lab Analysis (Summer 2024)

Sponsor one of two accredited laboratory water quality analyses at our Summer 2024 survey. Samples from the BWS are analysed for nutrient and bacterial concentrations using rigorous scientific approaches. Alongside becoming an official sponsor for the summer 2024 survey, you will receive a guided tour and live explanation of our laboratory analysis from Dr Ben Surridge (Lancaster University).

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected