Restoring an area of outstanding natural beauty
Loe Pool near Helston in Cornwall is a special place, the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall, deeply in need of some special measures to bring it back to its former glory. Loe Pool was formed several thousand years ago when a vast bar of shingle blocked the mouth of the River Cober, to form Loe Bar. The lake is a unique habitat for rare mosses, algae and insects - including the only known Cornish habitat of a rare woodlouse. It is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The lake is suffering from a surplus of nutrients making it prone to algal blooms which starve the lake of oxygen and kill off wildlife. This leaves parts of the lake bed bare of plants and devoid of invertebrates on which higher animals depend.
To address this problem a group of stakeholders was formed to do something about managing the lake and bringing it back to its former good ecological status. The Loe Pool Forum is a group of concerned organisations which includes the Royal Navy, Environment Agency, National Trust, Natural England, Kelda Water Services, Cornwall Council and Cornwall College.
The Royal Naval Air Squadron at Culdrose discharges to the pool via a treatment works on the Carminowe stream. Kelda Water Services is responsible for the operation of the works, via our Aquatrine contract with the MOD.
Investigation & Monitoring
A year long scientific program was arranged to check nutrient concentrations and gauge flow in the tributaries to the Pool. National Trust volunteers did the work on the ground, while Kelda undertook the analysis. These results are guiding the Forum on where to focus its attentions. It has been shown that the Naval Station produces over 20% of the nutrients entering the pool - the first time this has been quantified.
Efforts to decrease nutrients originating from RNAS Culdrose have included removal of phosphate using chemical dosing at the treatment works.
These measures and the continued efforts of the Forum should help to improve this beautiful part of the county.
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