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SPEC 11. Windermere: Restoring the Health of England's Largest Lake

by Alan D. Pickering

Published by The Freshwater Biological Association, Ambleside, December 2001 on behalf of The Lake District Still Waters Partnership: Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Freshwater Biological Association, Lake District National Park Authority, English Nature, Environment Agency, National Trust, United Utilities

126 pages, with 75 colour & black-and-white illustrations

ISBN 978-0-900386-68-8

Price £12.00

This book was produced to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Lake District National Park (LDNP) and to inform readers about major issues of public interest concerning Windermere – the largest natural lake in England. The LDNP Authority and its Still Waters Partners are jointly responsible for overseeing and managing this national resource. They have to balance a wide variety of view-points and sometimes conflicting requirements against the natural ‘needs' of Windermere itself, with the aim of maintaining the lake in an ecologically healthy state for public use and enjoyment now and in the future.

In this account, Alan Pickering starts by providing a background to Windermere, introducing the reader to the lake's geography, geology and historical development. As with all of the lakes in the English Lake District, and most of the UK, Windermere was formed at the end of the last glaciation. Major changes in its catchment induced by the changing climate and then by man's removal of the forests have been recognised through examination of lake sediments. The book concentrates on one of the most dramatic changes in the second half of the twentieth century – the decline in the health of the lake ecosystem. The main cause of this was the increased nutrient load from local sewage treatment works. As the ecological balance of the lake was threatened, the collaborative efforts of scientists and environmental managers restored the lake to one with thriving populations of fish and other aquatic fauna and flora. As one of the scientists involved in this work, Professor Pickering gives a very clear account of all of these changes and some thoughts on issues surrounding the lake's future management. His explanations of the more technical aspects make it accessible for the less technically-minded as well as to scientists and students of lakes and their catchments.

This book complements "Phytoplankton of Windermere" by C. S. Reynolds and A. E. Irish (FBA Special Publication 10, published in 2000). It will appeal to anyone who has an interest in lakes or the English Lake District.

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