Upland Waters Monitoring Network


The UK Upland Waters Monitoring Network (UWMN) was established in 1988 (then called the Acid Waters Monitoring Network) by ENSIS Ltd, at UCL, under funding from the then Department of the Environment (later DETR and Defra). Its prime objective was to assess the efficacy of emission controls on the chemistry and biota of acidified lakes and streams across the UK.

What is measured?

Parameters Measured Monitoring sites and data
Streams are sampled monthly, and lakes quarterly, for a range of chemical parameters. Chemical determinands include pH, conductivity, dissolved organic carbon and a standard suite of base cations, anions and metals. Biological monitoring involves annual assessment of algae (diatoms) and macroinvertebrates, and three yearly assessment of higher aquatic plants. Fish monitoring was discontinued in 2015 due to budget cuts. Current sites: 25 (11 lakes, 14 Streams)
Total sites: 25
Data availability: Data availability: Water chemistry and biological data are currently available on request. Water chemistry dataset for the period 1988 – 2019 will be published online by the end of 2023.

What is the purpose of the network?

The Network has a wide geographical coverage, consisting of 11 lakes and 14 streams across the UK which are monitored chemically and biologically to monitor the ecological impact of acid deposition in areas of the UK believed to be sensitive to acidification. At all sites, regular spot samples are taken for laboratory analysis of an extensive range of chemical determinands, including pH, conductivity, dissolved organic carbon and a standard suite of base cations, anions and metals. At a subset of streams, pH, conductivity and stream flow are also continuously monitored to provide a more detailed record of acid episodes. Epilithic diatoms, aquatic macrophytes and benthic invertebrates are sampled annually in the spring/summer and fish surveys for stream sites and the outflow streams of lakes are conducted each autumn.

How is the network run?

The UKAWMN is coordinated by ENSIS, part of the Environmental Change Research Centre (ECRC) at University College London. Data are collected, analysed and collated by several laboratories throughout the UK. All data are stored in a database managed by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Wallingford and ENSIS. Summary data is available on request to scientific and other interested organisations.

View data for sites in this network

Data can be downloaded from https://uwmn.uk

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