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Common Standards Monitoring Guidance for Freshwater Habitats 2016


The guidance provided here deals with common standards monitoring (CSM) for those designated sites, including SSSIs and SACs, that specifically identify freshwater habitats as a site feature. Information is provided on the identification of interest features, attributes and targets for each feature, the approach to monitoring, and methods of assessment.

The guidance for Freshwater Habitats includes:

  • Freshwater Lakes (updated March 2015) – The original 'Standing Waters' guidance was updated in 2014 (and renamed as 'Freshwater Lakes'), to incorporate changes to monitoring and classification practices and methods resulting from Water Framework Directive (WFD) implementation in the UK. The text has also been substantially edited and formatted to focus on key messages, remove unnecessary appendices and bring targets into the main body of the document alongside the explanatory text for each attribute. This edition of the guidance was peer reviewed in October 2014 according to JNCC procedures, and approved for publication in February 2015.
  • Rivers (updated January 2014, minor amendments September 2016) – The updated (2014) version of the Rivers guidance is a comprehensive revision of the previous version, and aims to improve consistency and ease of use, and to take account of the monitoring work being undertaken for the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Some of the main changes are to the water quality and flow targets resulting from an extensive literature review carried out by Natural England, as well as the inclusion of biological metrics for plant and invertebrate communities based on the WFD, and simpler and clearer ways of assessing a range of other attributes. Accompanying the guidance are two Excel spreadsheets which include data-analysis templates for two of the attributes that are included in condition assessments for rivers: (i) Bank Vegetation Naturalness; (ii) Riparian zone vegetation naturalness. Note, the guidance was republished in 2016 in response to some minor amendments. A further minor amendment was made in March 2020, but this has not affected the publication date.
  • Canals.
  • Ditches.

For reference, where the guidance has been updated, earlier versions are available via The National Archives website.

Common Standards Monitoring Guidance for freshwater fauna is provided separately:

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2016··

JNCC and the country nature conservation bodies commenced a programme to develop guidance across the range of species, habitat and earth science features which occur on UK protected sites.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2021·03·29

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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