From fish to underwater plants, birds to otters, Windermere is a nationally important place for wildlife. Windermere has:
Because of this Windermere is on the Cumbria Wildlife Trust's County Wildlife Site list.
Windermere has a resident population of over 10,000 people in its catchment - meaning the area around the lake that feeds into the lake's water supply. Because of this it's classified as sensitive under the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. This Directive aims to protect aquatic environments from the adverse effects of waste water discharges.
Reed beds offer essential secure resting places for overwintering birds and breeding birds in the spring and summer. Reed fringes also help break up wave energy from wind and boat wakes and slow down the erosion of the shoreline.
Unfortunately reed beds are declining around the lake. We are working with organisations such as the Freshwater Biological Association, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England to help provide solutions to encourage reed beds to start growing again.
We ask lake users not to land boats on shoreline areas with reed beds or take or drag boats through reed beds. They are also asked to avoid boating in the Wildlife Refuge areas in winter as marked on Your guide to Windermere leaflet (PDF)
Alien species compete with native plants and fish for space, light and food and may alter the ecological balance of the lake.
Canadian pondweed was the first to have a major impact, dominating depths greater than one and a half metres. In the 1970s Nuttall's pondweed replaced it as the major threat. And now Australian swamp stonecrop, also known as New Zealand pigmyweed, is spreading.
On river banks Himalayan balsam is a particular problem.
Lake users must clean equipment and clothing after using any lake or river to prevent the spread of alien species to other waterways.
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