Windermere Lake Recovery

by Matt staniek in Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom

Total raised £7,299

raised so far

157

supporters

This money will go to a project run by Windermere Lake Recovery CIC which directly reduces phosphorus from going into Lake Windermere

by Matt staniek in Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 2nd June 2022 we'd raised £7,047 with 151 supporters in 83 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

My name is Matt Staniek Bsc (Hons), I am a Zoologist from Windermere, and for the past 7 months I have been campaigning to stop water pollution in the Lake District. My main focus for this campaign has been surrounding the ecological decline of Windermere Lake. The number one thing that is killing Windermere is phosphorous pollution.

Following the success of the campaign, I have now set up the Windermere Lake Recovery CIC (Community Interest Company) which has the aim of trying to help save Windermere. The first project of the Windermere Lake Recovery is to create a new, flowing river ecosystem on a National Trust farm in the Langdale Valley. This project will help to reduce phosphorous pollution from surrounding farmland entering Windermere.

The Project

Currently, diffuse agricultural run off is estimated to be responsible for 30% of the total phosphorous pollution damaging Windermere. By helping to reduce this, it will centre more attention on further infrastructural changes needed to tackle the remainder of the 70% phosphorous input.

This project will help to reduce phosphorous pollution farmland in the valley by essentially soaking it up!

Chris and Jennie became the tenant farmers of this National Trust farm in 2019. Since then they have looked at ways in which they could manage this new land with wildlife in mind. We have discussed how if they extend their current riparian zone and to create a new river, not only will it help wildlife but it will also reduce their phosphorous footprint from entering Windermere Lake.

The first half of the project involves diverting, consolidating and opening existing culverts into one  meandering river. This river will have various nutrient traps as well as a 6m riparian zone either side of it. This zone will have reeds and trees planted throughout, which will not only positively impact aquatic life but also mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates, as well as making the land more adaptable to climate change.

The second half of the project is to open an old river channel and again implement a larger riparian zone as well as improving the peatland on the north half of the land. 

Both of these phases will help the land absorb more phosphorus instead of it running directly into the main river that runs through the Langdale Valley and then into Windermere.

This project will take 8 weeks to complete.

Cost of the project

Phase one will cost £25,000 to complete and phase two will be £16,000. Half the cost of each phase is fencing material and labour for the riparian zones. With the rest of the costs including; hiring an excavator,  planting trees and reed bed habitat.

I am hoping to apply for grants from the Environment Agency, National Trust and the Lake District Foundation. The ambition is for this money to be used as a match funder to enabling more projects to be completed.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like more specific information about the project as I have completed a much more detailed project brief and for more information on what is happening in Lake Windermere then visit here

If the crowdfunded surpasses its target the additional money will go towards the next project of the Windermere Lake Recovery CIC and other and similer projects it completes.

Why am I running the Windermere Lake Recovery CIC?

The campaign began on fairly innocuous grounds. I frequent the head of Windermere on an almost daily basis to observe, photograph and document the wildlife that call the lake their home. However, as the years have gone by, I've noticed something worrying - a very sharp decline in biodiversity. Being a Zoologist, my scientific curiosity took over and I set out to find the cause. I decided to write down the different symptoms Windermere was exhibiting: 

  • A noticeable absence in the keystone species, such as white clawed crayfish. 

  • Fish are dying and becoming less visible due to loss of habitat. 

  • A lower diversity of bird species in the lake. 

  • The thick lake and riverbed vegetation is replaced by benthic algal blooms.

  • Constant riverbed disruption from erosion further upstream.

  • Once crystal clear waters are now clouded with toxic blue green algae. 

I subsequently delved deeper into the data and found myself shocked beyond belief. Imagine my dismay when I found the Rivers Trust interactive sewage map which showed that in 2020, combined storm overflows discharged sewage into the Windermere catchment for a total of 7,236 hours.

I want to make films about this work and help people see how they can also change some of their habitats to reduce phosphorous from entering Windermere, and why they should care about it.

Media Attention around the campaign 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/08/sewage-could-leave-windermere-lake-ecologically-dead

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/10/22/lake-windermere-could-awarded-bathing-water-status-stop-dying/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10073491/Lake-Windermere-ecologically-dead-sewage-pumped-study-warns.html

Coming up soon an appearance in the Sunday Times and interviewed by Mike Glover for Lancashire life Magazine. 

1645735046_img_5566.jpg

This is the view on the farm where the first project is based. Below the proposed new stream.

1646946821_unnamed-2.png1646946806_unnamed.png1645702734_img_4092.jpgThis is what is happening to Lake Windermere because of phosphorous pollution

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Some of the iconic species we could lose if Windermere doesn't improve

Rewards

This project offered rewards

£50 or more

£50 reward

I will go on instagram live and read out your name to those watching the live

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Your email will be added to subscription list which will give up to date detail about the projects progression

£1,000 or more

£1000 Reward

A visit with myself to the farm in the Langdale Valley to see the project and learn more about its significance

£5,000 or more

Wildlife tour of the Lake District

Join me as we go to try and find some of the Uk's most iconic species, as well as an in depth look at conservation in the Lake District.

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