SCRT were successful in our United Utilities Catchment Systems Thinking (CaST) bid for reedbed creation and restoration around Windermere.
During the project, which ran from October 2021 to March 2023 we restored eight sites around Windermere, totalling 2010 square metres of reedbed restoration…

A bit of background

Since 2000 there has been a gradual decline in lake condition.
Increasing phytoplankton levels and toxic blue-green algal blooms (cyanobacteria), combined with a depletion in oxygen concentrations in deeper parts of the lake, is impacting water quality and threatening native species. Windermere is used for drinking water abstraction by United Utilities and has four designated bathing water sites. Water quality also plays a major part in tourism. It can impact upon the visual appearance, clarity of the water, plant and animal life. In turn, affecting recreation and enjoyment of the lake. A combination of factors have contributed to the decline in water quality and even though many now know about the challenges Windermere faces, the majority of people still perceive the lake as a pristine environment.
Reedbeds have declined by 90% in recent years, yet they are an important habitat for intercepting pollution before it enters the watercourse. They are also a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) habitat. Our project will address water quality issues through reedbed planting at priority sites.
The project also addressed public perception by engaging communities with nature by planting reedbeds and other activities through work party days; as well as wider public engagement activities, e.g. reedbed walks, demo days and talks at local community groups.
We aimed to complete practical reedbed restoration and community engagement days at four reedbed sites across Windermere, equating to 800 sq m of Reedbed creation / restoration. But, we actually restored eight sites and a total of 2010sq metres of reedbed creation /  restoration.
This project supports delivery of the Catchment Plan for South Cumbria Catchment Partnership ( Water Quality is identified as the main issue faced by the Windermere and Leven catchment and this project supports direct delivery of two actions in the Catchment Plan: (1) The restoration of reedbed habitat and extent, and (2) Tackling diffuse pollution across the Windermere catchment.
It also supports a range of other projects named in the Catchment Plan that are currently taking place, as well as supporting and implementing the Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Strategy.
This project also explored options for biodiversity offsetting to fund future water quality improvement works.
This project came to an end in March 2023 but that isn’t the end. We are always on the look out for new reedbed restoration sites and funding for even more reedbed restoration around Windermere. If you are a landowner or want to fund some reedbed restoration, please contact us.