Lake Habitat Survey: Phase 3
Summary of Final Deliverables
Field Survey Guidance Manual – Version 4
December 2008

The Lake Habitat Survey (LHS) is a method designed to assess and characterise the physical habitats of lakes, reservoirs and ponds (collectively known as standing waters). It is applicable to all types of permanent standing waters (including brackish lakes and those with tidal influence). The method may require adaptation for use at non-permanent lakes such as turloughs and meres.

LHS has been developed to fulfil the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, along with those of ‘Common Standards Monitoring’ and ‘Condition Monitoring’ for designated sites in the UK. It can also play a pivotal role in systematising habitat assessment for environmental impact assessment and prioritising programmes of measures aimed at restoring degraded lake ecosystems.

Phase 1 of LHS development began in 2004 with SNIFFER project WFD40 “Development of a technique for Lake Habitat Survey (LHS)”. The project was contracted to and carried out by the Environmental Systems Research Group, University of Dundee. Two variants of the survey were tested. LHScore was designed for rapid deployment and contained a sub-set of core data contained in the full version (LHSfull). Field sampling was conducted by contractors and teams from the environment and conservation agencies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A workshop was convened following the field trials to review and amend the protocol drawing on the expertise of participants from the United Kingdom (UK), Europe and the United States (USA). The decision was taken to discontinue LHScore.

Phase 2 of the development began with another LHS workshop to help strengthen the ecological content of the approach. Version 3.1 of the Field Form was again extensively tested in the UK and increasingly internationally during 2005 as summarised in SNIFFER Project WFD42 (2006).

Phase 3 is the latest phase in the development of the protocol and incorporates amendments arising from both domestic and international applications of the survey. Field trials have now been conducted countries including Finland, France, Ireland, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Serbia and The Netherlands. The latest version of the field form is now Version 4 (2008) and this manual provides the necessary instructions to implement the method. Phase 3 of the development programme introduced a formal training and accreditation requirement that recognises ‘Accredited LHS Surveyors’.

Copies of the reports are available from the Foundation, in electronic format on CDRom at 20.00 + VAT or hard copy at 25.00, less 20% to FWR members.

 N.B. The report is available for download from the SNIFFER Website