Freshwater habitats are incredibly diverse, with more than 400 large-scale ecoregions and thousands of rivers, lakes, and wetlands.
Freshwaters are also hotspots for biodiversity. They are home to at least 140,000 specialist freshwater species!
Due to their isolation and the specific challenges of living in a freshwater environment, levels of endemism are also extremely high. Over half of freshwater fish species are found in just one single ecoregion.
Specialist freshwater species account for around one-third of all vertebrate species and 51% of all fish species
That accounts for almost 18,000 freshwater fish species!
Freshwater habitats also have a rich fauna of invertebrates
And over 80% of the world’s turtle and tortoise are freshwater species.
WHAT IS A FRESHWATER SPECIES?
Freshwater specialist species complete all or part of their life cycle in fresh or brackish water ecosystems and have physiological and behavioural adaptions to the freshwater environment.
Freshwater associated species have a strong association with freshwater ecosystems, for example, for food or habitat.
Emergency Recovery Plan
To tackle the threats and bend the freshwtaer biodiversity curve, the Emergency Recovery Plan highlights six main solutions that are science-based and proven successful in certain locations. These priority actions are:
Let rivers flow more naturally;
Improve water quality in freshwater ecosystems;
Protect and restoring critical habitats;
End overfishing & unsutainable sand minidng in rivers & lakes;
Prevent and control invasions by non-native species;
Protect free flowing rivers & removing obsolete dams.