Freshwater Lake and Wetland Creation

Freshwater Lake Ecosystem

Global freshwater biodiversity is declining at twice the rate of oceans and forests, and freshwater ecosystems are the most degraded in the world, making it a priority habitat for restoration.

Habitat Type: Freshwater lake

Freshwater Lake Ecosystem

  • Location: Dorset, UK
  • Site Area: 2.6 hectares
  • Habitat Type: Freshwater lake
  • Key Species: Great-crested newt, brown hairstreak butterfly, marsh fritillary butterfly
  • Number of Trees: 5,000
  • Project Focus: Biodiversity
  • Biodiversity Net Gain: Estimated 17.6 points, 344% increase
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Why is this habitat under threat?

Freshwater biodiversity is critical to global biodiversity because over half of fish species live in freshwater and in fact freshwater fish make up one quarter of all vertebrate species on earth. In the UK we have lost over 90% of our wetland habitats and our remaining freshwater resources are in a poor state due to pollution from agricultural runoff, poor hydrological management, and invasive species. 

Which species will benefit from the habitat restoration?

A wide range of species will benefit from this wetland area including threatened great-crested newts and other amphibians, freshwater fish, aquatic invertebrates, dragonflies, wetland bird species such as herons and sandpipers, and the meadow will provide a rich nectar source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies including brown hairstreaks and marsh fritillaries.

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A wide range of species will benefit from this wetland area
A wide range of species will benefit from this wetland area

Site History

Prior to the lake restoration this site was marginal grazing pasture with limited value for wildlife and low biodiversity. There are existing hedgerows and broadleaved woodland nearby. The site is adjacent to a SSSI and very close to a Special Area of Conservation.

A wide range of species will benefit from this wetland area

Habitat restoration details

The 0.93 hectare lake is the centre point of the habitat restoration and it has been carefully designed to provide a multitude of microhabitats. There will be shallow shelves for amphibians, deeper areas for fish, gravel shallows for fish spawning, islands for birds, mud scrapes to attract passing wading birds, and clay bars. Around the lake there will be reeds and marginal aquatic plants to provide habitat for invertebrates and birds, then a larger wildflower meadow beyond that.

The meadow and hedgerows will be managed to provide extra nectar and food sources for rare brown hairstreak and marsh fritillary butterflies and caterpillars. There will be riparian woodland planting with nectar-rich trees such as bird cherry, and also an area trialling non-native tree planting to assess their suitability for climate change adaptation projects. 

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