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Chief Executive - Dr Bill Brierley

Bill Brierley
Dr Bill Brierley


Bill is a professionally qualified and highly competent freshwater ecologist and leader. He has gained significant experience in strategic development and delivery, influencing, business and financial planning during nearly 29 years in the Environment Agency and its predecessors. Bill has an extensive knowledge of ecology, ecosystem services, systems thinking, eutrophication, catchment management, water resources, environmental monitoring and assessment and water legislation resulting from his research, career and interests. More recently, Bill has worked on the Environment  Agency Monitoring programmes, including harmonising and redesigning the water networks and developing methods for assessing eutrophication using a Weight of Evidence approach. Bill has developed strong communication, influencing and liaison skills at international, national and local levels. He has also been a lecturer at the Open University, an external examiner for the Aquatic Resource Management MSc at Kings College London and Chair and trustee of various charities across education, music and conservation. 

His interest in freshwater biology goes back to his teenage years and as an undergraduate at Royal Holloway College he gained a very sound background in aquatic ecology and algology from Nan Duncan, John Dodge and others.  Bill then undertook a PhD studying the effects of artificial mixing on the growth and succession of phytoplankton in reservoirs at the University of Leicester, supervised by David Harper and part funded by Severn Trent Water.  Whilst at Leicester he took the opportunity to study the phytoplankton of Lake Naivasha in Kenya for 3 months as part of a multidisciplinary team investigating the lake ecology.  His research interest in temporal and spatial patterns in freshwater communities was kindled at this point.
Bill began work in the National Rivers Authority as an operational biologist in Anglian Region.  During this time he led a small research team investigating eutrophication issues in Rutland water and lowland lakes in response to serious cyanobacterial blooms during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  He then gained experience of R&D at a national level and assisted the development and management of both Environmental Monitoring and Water Resources R&D programmes.  Bill moved back into ecological science some 12 years ago and was involved with developing both the EA’s Ecology Science and Integrated Catchment Science strategies.  His long term interest in understanding variability and uncertainty of biological communities and its relevance to monitoring and management of our freshwaters was been the focus of his and several colleagues work over many years. This outcome of the work is now incorporated into our reporting to the EU for the Water Framework Directive. He was a panel member of the National Ecosystems Assessment group on Wetlands and Freshwaters, the EA representative on the Defra Evidence Biodiversity Investment strategy group and was one of the originating members of the Better Thames Network, a partnership between the EA universities and research organisations to co-ordinate and undertakes research in the River Thames catchment.
Bill has been a member of the FBA for many years and was a member of Council from 2008 to 2012, he led the strategy group which developed the new strategy that was adopted in 2011 and more recently was Acting Chairman of Council for a short period in 2014.
Bill is passionate about the need to halt the decline of the freshwater community and he believes that the FBA has a pivotal role to play in this respect. He also sees the FBA as an increasingly important organisation both in the UK and wider as a focus for freshwater education and science, a provider of data, information and evidence, training and publications to a wide range of audiences. Bill believes that the FBA has a potential leading role in influencing, co-ordinating and facilitating the freshwater science agenda, building on its 85 year history of excellence in science. We will also continue to undertake research, where appropriate using our facilities. All of this will contribute and provide the fundamental and pragmatic solutions and delivery mechanisms that will enable us to protect and manage our very precious freshwater systems. 


PhD University of Leicester

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