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Introduction to Freshwater Wetlands for Improving Water Quality


This comprehensive report aims to provide an overview and summarise the science, experience and case studies relating to the use of both natural freshwater wetlands and integrated constructed wetlands (ICWs) for improving water quality. It is aimed at those new to using wetlands for tackling water quality who want to understand the potential wetlands have, and those looking to identify potential wetland opportunities or at the feasibility or planning stages of implementing wetland interventions. It covers factors to consider when planning and designing wetlands (e.g. location, hydrology, soil type, etc), licensing, funding, monitoring, management, benefits, and managing trade-offs such as between pollutant removal efficiency and biodiversity. It is illustrated with case studies.


Guidance type/project stage

  • Ecosystem creation
  • Funding
  • Implementation
  • Ecosystem management
  • Monitoring and assessment
  • Planning
  • Ecosystem restoration


  • Wetland

Challenges addressed

  • Biodiversity
  • Health, wellbeing & cultural value
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Natural flood management
  • Water quality

Source | Natural England

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