Why you should care about England's largest lake - Windermere

Food for Thought, nature -

Why you should care about England's largest lake - Windermere

Matt Staniek is a 26 year old Zoologist and conservationist from the Lake District National Park. His main ambition in life is to be able to inspire and educate others about his passion for wildlife.

"Windermere is on the cusp of ecological and biological destruction, this is due to the nutrient phosphorus being dumped into the catchment in unsustainable quantities. The most notable phosphorus input, one that we are all familiar with, is sewage. Phosphorus acts as fertiliser for algae, which in turn is destroying our fragile freshwater environment. Lots of phosphorus means lots of algae. Lots of algae means dramatic changes and no oxygen  in the water for fish. Fish have been and continue to die in Windermere for the past decade. Arctic charr, Atlantic salmon, sea trout, brown trout are all in decline as a result of the rapid reduction in water quality. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, the worst is yet to come.
We are in the very early stages of our climate changing with droughts and flooding becoming an annual and increasing issue: this is a fact. Windermere lake is not in a state where it can cope with this threat. If 3 scenarios coincide, thousands of dead fish will be washed up on the shores of lake Windermere with many other animals- birds, mammals and invertebrates.
  • If we see a summer with particularly high visitor numbers (adding pressure to inadequate antiquated infrastructure); 
  • If we see a summer to be the driest on record
  • If we see United Utilities responding to this drought, when Thirlmere reservoir runs out of water, by beginning to abstract drinking water from Windermere.
This will create an algal bloom so big that oxygen levels in the lake will plummet resulting in the death of thousands upon thousands of fish.
The statements above could happen this summer. We are talking about scenarios that are in our near future. Scenarios that we are not prepared for because Windermere lake has already become eutrophic. We now see blue green algal blooms in Windermere even in the depths of winter. Blue green algae can kill your dog and will hospitalise you if you swallow it when swimming.  This is not speculation. A gentleman has come forward after he contracted Campylobacter after swimming in Windermere and accidentally swallowing its water. Windermere's water quality is declining with the impact on human health only becoming worse. If nothing is done this inspiring water will not be able to be swum in, wildlife will not be able to live in it and 3% of the Uk's economy will disappear when the tourist industry in the National Park dries up. The health of our freshwater impacts every single one of us in the country. We all drink water, we all need water to live, so we all must speak up for our lakes and rivers."
Unfortunately we have this this turn into a reality this summer:
Clean underwater lake Windermere by Matt Staniek
"River full of life - no waste water treatment works input."
River devoid of life by Matt Staniek
"River devoid of life - sewage fungus growing 100m from a waste water treatment works that discharges over 1000 hours of sewage every year. Both of these rivers run into Windermere lake. What’s causing this problem ? Well I’ll let you decide…"
If you want more updates then you can follow Matt on Instagram @mattstaniek 

"We must stand together now and hold those who have failed to protect our lake to account and ensure we get it protected for the future and allow it to recover for this entire nation. If you haven’t already please sign the petition and share widely. We must act now together."

Sign the petition HERE

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