Human-induced environmental changes are causing major shifts in ecosystems around the globe. To support environmental management, scientific research has to infer both general trends and context dependency in these shifts at global and local scales. Combining replicated real-world experiments, which take advantage of implemented mitigation measures or other forms of human impact, with research-led experimental manipulations can provide powerful scientific tools for inferring causal drivers of ecological change and the generality of their effects. Additionally, combining these two approaches can facilitate communication with stakeholders involved in implementing management strategies. We demonstrate such an integrative approach using the case study EcoImpact, which aims at empirically unravelling the impacts of wastewater-born micropollutants on aquatic ecosystems.