Category Archives: International

European Living Lakes Association (ELLA)

It was in 1998 that Global Nature Fund (GNF), (an environmental NGO based in Germany) founded the Living Lakes Network to promote the protection and restoration of lakes worldwide. Since then the family of organisations has grown to some 112 lakes across five continents and has some 130 organisations sharing experience and expertise in the common quest to protect these sensitive environments.

A common thread is the relatively low profile lakes have worldwide in view on their protection, but the very significant contribution they have to the overall environmental wellbeing. Not surprisingly, the situation in Europe with the high population density the situation with many lakes is severe; many failing to achieve ‘good status’. Through the EU Green Deal, the European member states are committed to restore damaged ecosystems and improve their ecological status, an objective that closely aligns with that of the Living Lakes Network. Progress has perhaps been slow because of the lack of alliances between government level down through various civic structures to effect action on the ground.

The EU “LIFE” sponsored project (LIFE 2020 NGO 4GD) seeks to overcome this shortcoming through the creation of a registered membership Association, the European Living Lakes Network “ELLA”. As such it will seek to engage with all stakeholders in lake regions, from local and regional authorities, through businesses, to civic society organisations and scientific institutions. ELLA, the new European-centred association for the protection of lakes and wetlands aims at actively promoting, advancing and advocating nature conservation, landscape management, climate change mitigation, and coastal and inland flood protection at a European level. In this context, rural development, sustainable agriculture and protection of biodiversity are central.

Partners within the ELLA family will hold series of climate and biodiversity related events and projects. They will bring together, experts, scientists, decision makers as well as national and regional government representatives through workshops, seminars and conference in order to establish a dynamic dialogue and knowledge transfer.

Project measures of EU ELLA:

  • Founding of a legally constituted European Living lakes Association (ELLA);
  • Capacity Building for stakeholders involvement in management of lake regions;
  • Europe-wide capacity building events, e.g. workshops and international conferences and webinars;
  • Motivation and support within the private sector on lake regions to integrate appropriate measures into their corporate management.

Global Nature Fund as the administers of the newly formed Association are keen that the UK and Ireland is actively involved and further sees the UK and Ireland lakes Network as the ideal communication vehicle to their future members to ELLA from within the UK and Ireland.

UKILN congratulates GNF for this initiative and looks forward to developing those links with fellow European ‘lake protectors’.

Considering a Membership?

Need more information on events and activities of ELLA?


ELLA e.V. – European Living Lakes Association
c/o Global Nature Fund (GNF) – International Foundation for Environment and Nature 

Dr. Thomas Schaefer, Fritz-Reichle-Ring 4, 78315 Radolfzell, Germany.

Tel.: +49 7732 9995 84, Fax: +49 7732 9995 88



Blue Lakes: “No micro-plastics, just waves”

The idea of a Blue lakes project was instigated by the NGO Legambiente in Italy. Other Italian NGOs followed along with two German groups, including Global Nature Fund.

The Project was subsequently funded through LIFE and the Plastics Europe. Their aim has been to reduce and perhaps even avoid entirely micro-plastics pollution in lakes. Taking an integrated approach, the facets of the project included:

  • Working with Municipalities in order to reduce plastic usage and waste;
  • Working with companies who could i.e. use alternative materials;
  • Promoting additional treatments stages in waste water treatment plants to remove micro-plastics; and to
  • Raise awareness amongst citizens and those responsible for the use of plastic products.

The five pilot lake catchments in Germany and Italy in the framework of the project are Lake Constance and Chiemsee in Germany and lakes Trasimeno, Garda and Bracciano in Italy.

The project has not only supported the local authorities in those areas with tools and information for them to effect appropriate policies and actions,  but have also developed a Lakes Charter seeking voluntary commitments to adopt methods to reduce and avoid micro-plastic release to lakes and heir watersheds.

Further, there has been a technical protocol developed for managers and technical advisers on the improvement measures that can be implemented at waste water treatment plants. At the project management level, all the partners have developed working relationships with the key relevant industries: principally, tyre, cosmetic and outdoor industry, with a view to identifying further measures that can be taken. At the political level, influence is being levied to improve the legal framework and public awareness significantly elevated.

Bespoke designed trawl nets take surface water samples for micro-plastic sampling and identification of lake surface waters. Lago Bracciano.

LIFE: The European Union’s LIFE programme supported Blue Lakes and contributes to the implementation, updating and further development of the EU policy and legislation on the environment and climate. Through the LIFE programme, the EU co-funds innovative projects that demonstrate the effectiveness of new techniques and methods in the environmental field.

Follow the project at and contact at


UK and Ireland Lakes Network Conference 2019 Papers

The UK and Ireland Lakes Network Conference – Lakes Protecting, Enhancing and Restoring was held in Westport, Ireland.

The conference papers are here:

Global Perspective on Lakes  Udo Gattenlöhner, Global Nature Fund

Lake Water Quality and the Water Framework Directive – Maths and Facts.  Dierdre Tierney, Environmental Protection Agency

Lough Forbes and challenges for safe drinking water.  Andrew Boylan, Irish Water

Odds and sods: Irish lakes and the Habitats Directive  Aine O Connor, National Parks and Wildlife

WFD and Fish in Lakes Monitoring – Methods, Trends and Climate change.  Fiona Kelly, Inland Fisheries Ireland

Lough Carra: past, present and future.  Chris Huxley and Tom Byrne, Lough Carra Catchment Association

The Local Authority Waters Programme–Lake Local Catchment Assessments in Action.  Bernadette White, Local Authorities Water Programme 

The Group Water Scheme sector in Ireland: An under-utilised resource for improving ecosystem services delivery?  Alec Rolston, Dundalk, institute of Technology

Cranes, drains and net carbon gains –working towards sustainable wetland management in the Broads National Park, UK, Dan Hoare, Broads Authority

Predicting in-lake responses to change using near real time models Tadhg Moore, PROGNOS PROJECT, DKIT

Remote sensing – a tool for lake assessment. Gary Free , Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing for the Environment

Assessing the potential of drones to take water samples and physicochemical data from open lakes. Conor Graham, Galway Mayo, Institute of Technology  

The Blue Dot Catchment Programme – preserving Irelands high status lakes. Cormac Mc Conigley, Local Authorities Water Programme

The Clones Lakes: How water quality decline is captured in charophyte lakes.
Mr Nick Stewart, Consultant 


On the second day conference delegates were treated to site visits to Loch Carra where this film was shared  and a tour of Burrishoole Research Station.


2018 Conference

UK and Ireland Lakes Network Conference 2018

21st and 22nd May, Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy



Conference Day Two – £25.00

Tour Day One – £25.00

 Dinner  Day One – £25.00

The UK and Ireland Lakes Network is an association of people and organisations who have an interest in managing lakes through a whole catchment approach. The body achieves this through the sharing of the experience and expertise.

UKILN brings together all those different organisations, ranging from national regulators to local interest groups and specialist professionals. It covers the whole variety of lake issues from the environment to local community needs, leisure uses and legal requirements through to the more intangible values such as their cultural and spiritual qualities.

2018 Conference

In 2018 the UK and Ireland Lakes Network will be holding its conference in Northern Ireland in the new Seamus Heaney Homeplace Centre. Over the last number of years, the themes of the UK and Ireland conference have been fairly scientific based including, water quality management and environmental protection.  However, this year 2018 the conference will look at other aspects of Lakes that are equally important.  These include themes such as the connections between lakes and health and well-being, the sublime and poetic features of our wet landscapes, the  past and present cultural traditions associated with our lake resources and how and why we just want to connect with water itself.  (See below for booking details)


The new Seamus Heaney Homeplace centre has just been opened in 2017 in Northern Ireland.  Seamus Heaney was a Nobel laureate and internationally renowned poet whose work often celebrated the Lough Beg landscape in which he was born and brought up.   It would therefore be of relevance and opportune to maybe examine themes he often wrote about such as the connections of  water to the cultural, historic and spiritual aspects of our lives. The main conference day is on the 22 May 2018


The theme of the conference will  be “ Connecting People and Lakes: Past and Present”

Speakers and potential speaker topics will therefore include:

  • The sublime inspiration of lakes and water.
  • The healing power of water and Lakes.
  • The importance of water and lakes to ancient people. (The archaeology of lakes as food sources, sanctuaries and places of worship and habitation.)
  • The cultural legacy and traditions stemming from lakes.  eg traditional fishing boats, religious traditions, songs and ballads of lakes, heritage buildings left on shores.
  • How and why do people connect to lakes
  • What do we mean by a sustainable lake and what are the health, social and economic benefits ?

Dates and Timeline

Monday 21st May 2018: Tour Day

2pm – 5pm      Tour of Heaney Country –  the starting point of the tour is Seamus Heaney Homeplace 45 Main Street, Bellaghy.  BT45 8HT

You will be taken on a guided tour around Heaney Country by Gerry Darby, you will visit some of the sites referred to in his writing, hear poetry recitals and gain an understanding of his interpretation of the landscape.  Please bring appropriate outdoor wear in case of inclement weather.  Following the tour, the bus will drop you off at your hotel (Ardtara Country House) to check in

8pm                 Conference Dinner at Ardtara Country House

Tuesday 22nd May 2018: Main Conference Day

9.30am            Registration, tea & coffee

10am               Conference opened by Gerry Darby, Chairperson, UKILN

10.30am          Dr Liam Campbell, Built and Cultural Heritage Officer Lough Neagh: The
Cultural Legacy of Ireland’s Loughs.

11.00am          Dr Paul Logue, Senior Archaeologist with Department for Communities,
Historic Environment Division: Lakes Crannogs and Irish Landscapes of Power.

11.30am          tea & coffee break

12noon            Alish Hanna and Niall Hanna. The Musical and Singing Traditions of Lough
Neagh, Past and Present.

12.30pm          Greta Mc Carron, Local Authority Waters and Communities Officer, Republic
of Ireland: How Lakes and Water can improve our Health and Well-being.

1.00pm            Lunch

2.00pm            Dr Trish Murphy, Celebrate Water, Inishowen Donegal: A view from Lough
Foyle. Joining Rivers, People and The Sea.

2.30pm            Scott Ferguson, Seven Lochs Wetland Park, Scotland: Connecting Lakes and
People In an Urban Environment.

3.00pm            tea & coffee break

3.30pm            Conference summary & close by Gerry Darby UKILN Chairperson

4pm                 Transport to Belfast International Airport & Belfast City Airport

Getting there

By Car

The conference venue is Seamus Heaney Homeplace

45 Main Street, Bellaghy.  BT45 8HT

Click here for Google Map

The Conference dinner venue / Hotel is

8 Gorteade Road, Upperlands.  BT46 5SA

Click here for Google Map



You are advised to book your accommodation as early as possible, there are only a limited number of rooms available.  The recommended accommodation is Ardtara Country House Hotel  8 Gorteade Road, Upperlands.  BT46 5SA


The following delegate rate has been agreed:

B&B single occupancy £99

B&B twin occupancy £139

Please telephone to book 028 7964 4490 – this delegate rate cannot be booked online, you will need to quote UK & Ireland Lakes Network


If Ardtara is fully booked, the nearest hotel is Walsh’s Hotel, Maghera  There are no special delegate rates


Are you creating shared value? Have you seen this opportunity to be recognised?

As the world’s population grows, innovating to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future of all becomes even more essential. Ashoka and Nestle are looking for initiatives in Nutrition, Water and Rural Development to support and take to scale. Are you the next CSV Prize Winner?

Find out more about it here: Link

Do you know a wetland? Can you help with a worldwide survey?

Knowledge about the status and trends of the worlds remaining wetlands is very patchy and limited. To improve this knowledge, and to better inform wetland policy and decision-making,  a simple worldwide questionnaire survey to gather better knowledge on the state of wetlands is being undertaken now.

 Who is organising the survey?

The survey is a collaborative initiative between the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS Ramsar Section), the World Wetland Network (WWN) and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), with the help of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat.

How can you help?

Are you familiar with a wetland? If yes, then you can help: the survey is open to anyone who can tell us about the state of a wetland(s), small or large, about which they know. The questionnaire asks for your opinion about the state of a wetland, and should take no longer than 10 minutes of your time to complete.
The survey will be open until the 30th September 2017, and results shared at the 2018 Ramsar Conference.

Find out more from the World Wetland Network here.

Or start the survey in English here.



European survey on urban (city) lakes and rivers

Rivers and lakes located in European cities and towns are getting cleaner thanks to improvements in waste water treatment and restoration projects which have brought many waterways back to life. New forms of water management contribute to make our cities greener, smarter and more sustainable, but key challenges remain, according to a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) released today.


Lough Neagh Top 100 Global Sustainable Destination

Lough Neagh Top 100 Global Sustainable Destination

Lough Neagh is one of only 100 destinations worldwide to have been awarded ‘Sustainable Destination’ at the Global Sustainability Competition in the Castle of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The awards celebrate the efforts of tourism destination’s responsible and sustainable tourism initiatives globally.  Lough Neagh was nominated by the UK & Ireland Lakes Network and evaluated by experts of the Green Destinations Top 100 Team and by members of the special Top 100 Selection Panel, that included over 60 tourism sustainability experts. The Top 100 initiative aims to recognise tourism destinations that have worked hard to make a difference and take sustainability seriously.

Lough Neagh Top 100 Sustainable DestinationEimear Kearney of Lough Neagh Partnership accepted the award on behalf of the destination and said: “For Lough Neagh to be named among the 100 greenest of destinations worldwide is a real achievement for our destination. “In order to be selected for this award we had to provide extensive information on Lough Neagh and our efforts towards sustainability for the benefit of visitors, residents and the world.  We are really honoured to have been selected from 150 nominations to receive this unique award.”

Lough Neagh is the biggest lake in the UK & Ireland and an internationally important wetland with numerous environmental designations, local and national nature reserves.  It is one of our greatest natural resources and one of the most important conservation areas in the whole of Northern Ireland, with very unique species and habitats worth protecting.  The achievement is an endorsement of the fantastic work by various stakeholder groups around the Lough and marks a commitment going forward to preserve Lough Neagh and its biodiversity.  Lough Neagh Partnership recently commenced a European water quality project and just last week launched a new plan to address loss of bird species and wetland habitat on shores of Lough Neagh.

Global Nature Fund – Green Filters


Dear all,

please find below links to a new paper from GNF regarding developments on this important low tech / low cost method of water treatment.


Dear LL Partners,

As announced last week, we would like to encourage other Living Lakes partners to submit their ideas and proposals for Green Filter projects. We came across the possibility to start new projects at the beginning of 2016, in the framework of our campaign “Clean water for the World” together with the German company Kärcher ( To move this forward, we would need to receive your proposals by the end of this week (Monday 30.12.2015 the latest) , to be able to communicate them in our annual meeting with Kärcher.

We are aware of the short notice, but with a little effort a new Green Filter could be soon improving the life quality of some of the rural communities in your countries.

Best regards from Lake Constance

Julia Pérez Sillero | Project Manager