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3.1 Citizen Science: Testing the Waters

Utilise new technologies to involve people in the collection of important biological and environmental data needed to protect life in freshwater.

Delivery Lead Organisation: Freshwater Habitats Trust


Project Update

100 local volunteers complete eDNA survey of freshwaters in the Brecks

Read the Freshwater Habitats Trust article about the completion of the eDNA testing in the Brecks.



Read our blog post to find out how our volunteers got on and the results we collected from water testing in the Brecks.

Click here to read



Below is some feedback from our Citizen Science Zoom sessions which we held in February, March and April:



May 2021

Blog Post: Team Day Out: Testing the Waters in Snetterton, Norfolk

February 2021

First Citizen Science Zoom Session

First Citizen Science Zoom Session a Success


The aim of Testing the Water is to use new technologies – specifically environmental DNA testing and low cost, rapid, nutrient pollution test kits and – to involve people in the collection of important biological and environmental data needed to protect life in freshwater.

This will help us to achieve four broad aims:

To create monitoring networks for endangered freshwater species and the extent of clean unpolluted water using simple but sophisticated citizen science survey methods, providing a baseline for the long-term monitoring of water quality and the distribution of key red list freshwater species in the project area

To increase awareness in a range of audiences of the distribution of protected freshwater species and priority freshwater habitats, facilitating better conservation management practices.

To increase people’s engagement with and understanding of the exceptional freshwater heritage of The Brecks, apparently one of Britain’s driest landscapes but also one of the most important areas for freshwater biodiversity.

To inform the delivery of river restoration activities, and guide future landscape conservation activity in the scheme area

The work will help us engage in new ways with audiences who currently have a limited range of options for working with water and understanding its exceptional biological richness.


Testing the Water is a citizen science project to raise awareness of habitat loss, pollution and rare species, involving people in practical activities to get new information about the project area using cutting edge Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling of ponds, streams, ditches and river headwater streams, and rapid water quality test kits that make visible pollution that is otherwise invisible and largely unknown.

Results will be mapped to identify water quality and dispersal of key red list species in the project area to facilitate improved awareness and better conservation management practices. Workshops, activities and events for families, including curriculum linked schools’ engagement, will be provided.

If you’d like to get involved in this project, contact us for more information or to be added to the project mailing list:

Resources: eDNA Testing

Here you will find useful resources relating to the eDNA testing of the project.


Before you proceed, could all volunteers please sign up here:

Volunteer enrolment: eDNA Citizen Science-Testing the Water


eDNA Training PowerPoint Presentation


eDNA Recording Form

For more information on Health & Safety and Biosecurity click here:



Resources: Clean Water Testing

Here you will find useful resources relating to the clean water testing of the project.

Clean Water Training PowerPoint Presentation #1

Clean Water Training PowerPoint Presentation #2

Testing the Water Survey Form

More information about Freshwater Habitats Trust and about the project:


To get involved email: Anne Carter ( from the Freshwater Habitats Trust to say you would like to take part.