Global survey on Lake Restoration: First results

Author(s): Sandra Poikane
Email (s):
Institution or organization of origin: European Commission Joint Research Centre
Country: Italy


The World Water Quality Alliance Ecosystems Workstream has initiated a Global Survey of Lake Restoration. The results provide geographical resolution on the challenges and solutions associated with improving water quality and lake restoration in practice. The survey includes questions on the human-induced pressures, lake uses, the targets, the measures used in lake restoration and their effectiveness, the main reasons behind successes and failures in lake restoration and the needs for future collaboration. Here, we present the first results of the Surve across 36 countries and 6 continents providing a unique insight into the real-life experiences of lake restoration practitioners. The survey responses indicate that although nutrient emissions remain the primary issue in lakes globally; climate change impacts, invasive species and hydrological modifications are equally important lake management issues experienced world-wide. The most effective restoration measures remain nutrient loading control (both from catchment and in-lake), followed by hydrological modifications and the implementation of nature-based solutions. Measures for the control of non-native invasive species are rarely applied, or are viewed as being ineffective. Ecology-based and/or pressure-related restoration targets have been set for most restoration programmes, however, the strength of evidence underpinning these targets was assessed in many cases to be weak. The majority of respondents viewed stakeholder engagement as the most important factor in delivering successful lake restoration programs, followed by knowledge and resources. Insufficient funding and poor understanding of pressures and their effects was deemed the most important cause of failure to achieve restoration targets. Novel, emerging and multiple pressures may require new approaches to lake restoration: both in setting restoration targets and devising restoration strategies. The future collaboration is needed to improve understanding of these novel pressures, their effects, restoration measures needed to manage them efficiently.

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