Aquatic ecology

Aquatic ecology

A comprehensive aquatic ecology and fisheries service

As part of our aquatic ecology and fisheries service, our specialists provide bespoke and cost-effective monitoring for freshwater, transitional and marine ecosystems. We combine the data from our innovative and state-of-the-art monitoring equipment with our assessment and interpretation experience to provide clients with a greater insight into potential environmental impacts of proposed development schemes on aquatic habitats and species.  

We are pleased to provide the complimentary Ricardo Ecological Surveys Calendar, which covers most surveys in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. Click here to download.

Our experts have a long track record of providing pragmatic solutions to support the development of mitigation measures, and demonstrate success and compliance of projects. 

Members of our ecology team belong to a number of professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM), Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) and the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and, as such, follow best practice guidelines. Every team member has undergone water safety training and follows strict biosecurity measures.

We are industry-leading experts at undertaking aquatic ecology monitoring and assessment, and our specialists have done this for 18 different UK water companies. Our highly experienced ecologists are leaders in writing technical assessments for fisheries, and aquatic and terrestrial ecology – and are ideally placed to provide ecology assessments.  Our aquatic ecology services include:

Aquatic ecology and fisheries monitoring

  • Ecological walkovers to support initial assessment of risk.
  • Fish habitat surveys (including HABSCORE).
  • Freshwater and estuarine fish surveys – using a range of techniques.
  • Aquatic macroinvertebrate surveys and identification.
  • Marine environmental baseline surveys  for macroinvertebrates, macroalgae and habitats.
  • Continuous and spot water-quality sampling.
  • Macrophyte, diatom, phytoplankton and blue-green algae surveys.
  • Ecological impact assessments (EcIA), habitats regulations assessments (HRA) and Water Framework Directive (WFD) assessments.
  • Coastal and offshore fish surveys.
  • Environmental permit risk assessments.
  • Marine licence support.
  • Benthic video and stills analysis.

Pollution incident response

We are specialists in providing support for pollution incidents – our staff are highly experienced and our scientifically robust methodologies are designed to stand up to scrutiny. Our experts have an extensive track record in providing pollution prevention and incident advice through the National Chemical Emergency Centre (part of Ricardo), and post-incident mitigation. The pollution incident response services we offer include:

  • Macroinvertebrate survey and analysis
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Fish carcass counts
  • Level 1 advice during a pollution event 
  • Mitigation
  • Environmental impact assessment in line with relevant guidance
  • Expert witness work (including court appearance)

Protected Species Surveys

Our staff hold protected species licences for white-clawed crayfish, otter and water vole and are able to provide clients with solutions and mitigation measures to support you in maintaining compliance, whilst safeguarding biodiversity.

Construction site support

Our ecology team develops Construction Environmental Management Plans (CEMP), produces or reviews Environmental Management Plans (EMP) and provides on-site Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) services for projects that require the provision of toolbox talks and/or onsite supervision to enable works to proceed without contravening relevant wildlife legislation. Some members of our ecology team hold Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards. 

Fish passage appraisal 

With leading experts in river restoration and fisheries, we are able to identify and evaluate barriers to fish migration on a catchment-wide scale. Our staff are experienced in undertaking river walkovers, feasibility studies, fluvial and geomorphological assessments and audits, habitat enhancement, ecological assessments and hydromorphological studies.