Fresh water is abundant in the Highlands as exemplified by the many lochs, lochans, rivers and streams. The region has one of the longest (Loch Shiel) and the deepest (Loch Morar) freshwater lochs. The abundant and diverse freshwater habitats and margins support a range of species, including quillworts (Isoetes spp), water lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna),shoreweed (Littorella uniflora) bulbous rush (Juncus bulbosus), water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) and floating bur-reed (Sparganium angustifolium), as well as rare aquatic and marginal plants such as the slender naiad (Najas flexilis), Irish ladies tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana), pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum), club sedge (Carex buxbaumii), dwarf water-lily (Nuphar pumila), and pygmy-weed (Crassula aquatica).
The active shingle beds associated with many of the rivers support a specialist invertebrate fauna.
There is an abundance of dragonfly and damselfly species in the summer months, with nine species recorded from one site alone. Freshwater pearl mussels (Margaretifera margaretifera), Atlantic salmon, sea and brown trout, black throated divers, dippers, common scoter, goldeneye, red-breasted merganser, goosander and water vole are just a few of the species associated with the rivers, burns and freshwater lochs. Loch Morar also contains an Ice Age relict population of Arctic charr. The Strontian River also contains two nationally notable coleopteran species, Deronectes latus and Riolus cupreus.
Whether botanising, bird watching, mammal spotting or fishing, freshwater habitats are a great place to explore the rich heritage of the Western Highlands.