Freshwater Ecology

BSG Ecology has a team of experienced freshwater ecologists. Our services include Water Framework Directive and aquatic habitat assessments, macro-invertebrate survey, data analysis, advice on restoration and management of habitats, mitigation and compensation for freshwater fish and on control of non-native invasive species.

Overview

BSG Ecology has a team of experienced freshwater ecologists. Our services include Water Framework Directive and aquatic habitat assessments, macro-invertebrate survey, data analysis, advice on restoration and management of habitats, mitigation and compensation for freshwater fish and on control of non-native invasive species.

Implementation of the Water Framework Directive in 2000 has increased the emphasis on improving the ecological quality of rivers and lakes within the UK and Ireland, and ensuring that new developments do not adversely impact aquatic habitats or compromise their future ecological status.

Additional legislation (including The Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Amendment) Regulations 2010) allows prosecution of individuals or companies responsible for the pollution of aquatic habitats.  Developers are now expected to carry out pre and post-development surveys of waterbodies where an adverse impact is anticipated.

Surveys of freshwater habitats and species can present a number of challenges.  Our experience gained from working across a wide range of sites, applying different survey methods and means of assessment, allows us to provide a tailored approach to your freshwater project.

BSG Ecology has a team of experienced freshwater ecologists originating from academic, public sector and consultancy backgrounds. In partnership with our approved sub-consultants we can deliver a comprehensive suite of aquatic services anywhere in the UK and Ireland.

Freshwater Ecology Survey

We have a large team of ecologists, many of whom have significant experience of freshwater ecological assessment for development as well as conservation led projects.

We have project experience of the following field survey work that is of particular relevance to projects with freshwater habitats:

  • Targeted survey, covering (as necessary) all key groups of aquatic invertebrates using a full range of survey methods including direct searching, netting, and kick sampling;
  • Survey and identification of macrophytes including specialist groups such as stoneworts for which Special Areas of Conservation are designated and Phase 3 surveys of individual plant species;
  • Surveys of protected or otherwise notable species associated with freshwater habitats (e.g. white-clawed crayfish, Desmoulin’s whorl snail, lesser silver water beetle, great crested newt, otter and water vole ) or communities (e.g. pond invertebrates);
  • Assessment of biological water quality of ponds, lakes, streams and rivers, using freshwater invertebrates as indicators of ecosystem health.

Freshwater Ecology Consultancy Services

The aquatic ecology services we offer include:

  • Water Framework Directive Assessments including geomorphology, macrophyte and fisheries surveys, desk study assessments, data analysis and interpretation;
  • Aquatic habitat assessments using River Habitat Survey and River Corridor Survey methods, delivered by accredited staff;
  • Bespoke and Water Framework Directive compliant macroinvertebrate surveys of still and running water habitats, including identification of major aquatic macroinvertebrate groups to family or species level;
  • Analysis of data using industry-standard indices, such as RICT1 and BMWP/ASPT2 for running water and PSYM3 for ponds;
  • External audit of invertebrate samples following our in-house analytical quality control systems;
  • Design and implementation of water quality, phytoplankton, zooplankton, phytobenthos and sediment assessment surveys; and analysis of samples (using external laboratories).
  • Advice on short and long-term water quality management;
  • Advice on river, lake and pond restoration, and the control and management of undesirable algal blooms;
  • Survey and translocation of protected species carried out by ecologists licensed by the appropriate statutory nature conservation organisation.

1 River Invertebrate Classification Tool

2 Biological Monitoring Working Party Index / Average Score Per Taxon

3 Predictive System for Multimetrics

Freshwater Ecology – Capability Statement

Project Examples

BSG Ecology was commissioned to investigate the current chemical and ecological status of Blenheim Lake and the River Glyme and to make an assessment as to whether discharge from Woodstock Sewage Treatment Works was likely to be having a detrimental impact on water quality.

The EC Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2006/60/EC) requires that all waterbodies meet ‘good ecological status’ by 2027. Over the past decade, however, there has been a perceived decline in the ecological quality of Blenheim Lake.

A baseline water quality survey was carried out to inform a planning application for a proposed solar farm site in Cornwall. BSG Ecology was also involved in the production of an ecological impact assessment, landscape and ecology management plan, and site supervision post-consent for this development.

Water quality was assessed by sampling the invertebrate families present in the stream on the site and using the Biological Monitoring Working Party (BMWP) to score the assemblage (an industry-standard technique). The rationale behind conducting this survey was to provide baseline data in a reliable and repeatable way so that, if necessary, water quality could be monitored to assess if any impact (positive or negative) has occurred that could be attributed to the development.

Ashridge Estate, which is owned and managed by the National Trust, covers 2,000 hectares of beech and oak woodland, commons and chalk downland. Across the Estate are ponds of varying sizes, many of which are believed to be very old. The Trust recognised the importance of a thorough ecological assessment of each pond prior to implementation of new management. Through an understanding of the ecological characteristics of their ponds, they could ensure pond restoration avoided impacts on important plant or invertebrate species, or on any legally protected species such as great crested newts.

BSG Ecology was commissioned by the National Trust in 2013 to carry out an assessment of the biological quality of eighteen ponds within Ashridge Estate, and to provide recommendations for the future management of ponds within the whole Estate.

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