The Upland Waters Monitoring Network covers 12 lakes and 14 streams across the UK. UWMN conducts chemical, physical and biological monitoring including: monthly and quarterly sampling for water chemistry; continuous monitoring of water temperature (using thermistor loggers); and a range of biological surveys (yearly for epilithic and sediment trap diatoms and macroinvertebrates; and three-yearly for aquatic macrophytes). UWMN is closely aligned with other specialist long-term UKCEH upland water monitoring activities, particularly the Conwy and Plynlimon Research Catchments.
UWMN was originally established by the UK government Department of the Environment in 1988 as the UK Acid Waters Monitoring Network - covering 22 sites managed by ENSIS Ltd, a consultancy based at University College London. Around 2011 it was renamed the Upland Waters Monitoring Network to reflect a broadening science and policy remit, and water temperature measurement was added. UKCEH has coordinated UWMN since 2018, has always managed the UWMN chemistry database, and is now taking over management of the biological database.
The UWMN is globally unique as a network of upland surface waters monitored chemically, physically and biologically. Accurate and precise analysis of these highly dilute waters requires particular sensitive instrument ranges that are rarely achieved by the UK's regulatory agencies with a primary focus on compliance. UWMN data have provided the first international evidence - through the UNECE International Cooperative Programme ICP Waters - for a long-term increase in dissolved organic matter in waters recovering from acid rain.
UKCEH Partners in the Upland Waters Monitoring Network include: Defra; Environment Agency; Forestry Commission; Department of Environment for Northern Ireland; Scottish Government; Scottish Environmental Protection Agency; Marine Science Scotland, Pitlochry; Scottish Natural Heritage; Welsh Government; Natural Resources Wales; Queen Mary University of London; University College London.
UKCEH are in the process of making the first 30 years of UWMN water chemistry data openly available via the UKCEH Environmental Information Data Centre (EIDC), and access to biological datasets will follow (subject to agreement with data providers). Physical access to UWMN lakes and streams can be arranged, though most sites are remote, not owned or managed by UKCEH, and rarely visited.
The Upland Waters Monitoring Network covers 12 lakes and 14 streams across the UK (some but not all operated by UKCEH): (1) Loch Coire nan Arr; (2) Allt a'Mharcaidh; (3) Allt na Coire nan Con; (4) Lochnagar; (5) Loch Chon; (6) Loch Tinker; (7) Round Loch of Glenhead; (8) Loch Grannoch; (9) Dargall Lane; (10) Scoat Tarn; (11) Burnmoor Tarn; (12) River Etherow; (13) Old Lodge; (14) Narrator Brook; (15) Llyn Llagi; (16) Llyn Cwm Mynach; (17) Afon Hafren (Severn); (18) Afon Gwy (Wye); (19) Beagh's Burn; (20) Bencrom River; (21) Blue Lough; (22) Coney Glen; (23) Loch Coire Fionnaraich; (24) Danby Beck; (25) Baddoch Burn; (26) ECN Troutbeck.
UWMN is funded by: Defra; Nature Scot; Welsh Government; Natural Resources Wales; Forest Research; and UKRI-NERC National Capability (Institutional Funding).
UWMN data are used by: (1) Defra and International goverments to inform Air Quality strategies (via testing of environmental models that predict the impact of changes in acid deposition on acidified upland waters); (2) Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural Resources Wales to inform conservation strategies; (3) Forest Research as evidence for the influence of forest managment on upland water quality; (4) UK water companies to understand and predict the impact of environmental change on organic compounds in drinking water supplies; (5) Uk and international researchers to understand processes driving chemical and ecological change in surface waters.
28 April 2022 13:21