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Canal & River Trust launches 'Making Special Places for Nature' project today - World Environment Day

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WATERWAY NATURE RESERVES TO BE PROTECTED IN NEW CAMPAIGN BY CANAL CHARITY 

Making Special Places for Nature - 400 hectares of important canal habitat improved 

The Canal & River Trust has launched a 12-month nature project to improve vulnerable wildlife habitats across 10 key sites totalling 400 hectares – a combined area greater than the City of London. 

The ‘Making Special Places for Nature’ project spans reservoirs and canals in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Greater Manchester, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Berkshire and mid Wales. It will benefit water shrews, voles, otters, bats, dragonflies and other rare fauna and flora. 

The Trust, which cares for 2,000 miles of canals and 63 SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), is appealing to volunteers to join it in this mammoth task and hopes to encourage many residents, particularly young people, to roll up their sleeves and get involved in improving their own local nature reserve. 

The project, made possible thanks to a £350,000 award from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will involve a wide range of habitat protection work including bank restoration, shade removal and improvements in water quality. The project will also assess the health and populations of various rare species including the shy water shrew, which was last subject to a national survey more than a decade ago.

 Canal & River Trust ecologist Stuart Moodie said: “The Eurasian water shrew and white clawed crayfish are among a wide range of indigenous species which need an extra helping hand. Their natural habitats are threatened by run off from agricultural fertilisers and invasive plants and animals. Increasing the growth of aquatic plants helps encourage insects and invertebrates which in turn promotes healthy populations of fish and small mammals. Biodiversity is the key to a flourishing waterway. 

“Getting local people involved in managing these reserves is a key priority. We would appeal to anyone who wants to get in touch with nature and play an important role in conserving their local area to contact us. This is a genuine chance to make a real difference.”

 Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “I am delighted that as a result of funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery that Canal & River Trust are able to launch this 12 month nature project.” 

For more information or to become a ‘friend’ or volunteer with the Canal & River Trust, check out the website www.canalrivertrust.org.uk or ring 0303 040 4040.  

More about specific nature reserves…. 

Site

Important for…

Action

Ashby Canal

Leicestershire

Water shrew, rare native white-clawed crayfish, 9 species of dragonfly

Silt levels and water quality improved. 1km of new green bank protection to be installed and planted by contractors and volunteers.

Grantham Canal

Leicestershire

Many species of breeding birds, water insects and rare aquatic plants.

Invasive species control, weed management and dredging carried out by volunteers and contractors.

Kilby Foxton Canal

Leicestershire

Important community of rare Daubenton’s Bats in Fleckney Tunnel, plus rare aquatic plants and invertebrates.

Water quality improved by shade reduction, vegetation clearance, hedge laying and coppicing.

Chesterfield Canal

Nottinghamshire

Rare aquatic plants

Water quality improved by creation of reed beds, tree management, shade reduction. Damaging phosphates reduced by Phoslock water treatment.

Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Greater Manchester

Freshwater sponges, white-clawed crayfish, invertebrates and rare aquatic plants

Water quality improved by shade reduction, coppicing and vegetation clearance. Surveys carried out by student volunteers.

Montgomery Canal (2 sites)

Powys and Shropshire

 

Otters, several species of dragonflies, rare aquatic plants, including floating water plantain (world’s best site)

Habitats will be enhanced by removal of silt, shade reduction, vegetation management, coppicing, removal of invasive plants. Disused Guilsfield Arm will be improved for wildlife. Volunteers will play key role.

Bittel Reservoir

Worcestershire

Breeding birds, insects and rare aquatic plants

Invasive species control, silt build up and water quality improved by coppicing, vegetation management, silt clearance and the creation of ponds along the edge of the reservoir.

Belvide Reservoir

Staffordshire

Overwintering, migratory and breeding birds

Silt build up and water quality improved by coppicing and vegetation management.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Berkshire

Species of fish, damselflies and mayflies

The canal and the River Kennet flow through chalk landscape. Banks are being eroded by livestock leading to siltation. Installation of green bank protection will help to stabilise channel and vegetation removal improve effects of shading.

 

 

ENDS

For further media requests please contact:

Lynn Pegler on 07783 686246, Canal & River Trust press office,

[email protected]

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CRT are certainly "making Special Places for Nature" on many of the canals we have recently visited.

"Nature" seems to be growing from lock gates and coping stones everywhere, and plenty more overhanging "nature" is making navigation difficult between the locks.

Indeed only the other day "Nature" swept my water cans from the roof and into the cut, and put another dent in the chimney.

You can't have too much Nature, but best not to try boating through it!

 

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1 hour ago, alan_fincher said:

CRT are certainly "making Special Places for Nature" on many of the canals we have recently visited.

"Nature" seems to be growing from lock gates and coping stones everywhere, and plenty more overhanging "nature" is making navigation difficult between the locks.

Indeed only the other day "Nature" swept my water cans from the roof and into the cut, and put another dent in the chimney.

You can't have too much Nature, but best not to try boating through it!

 

If you read the actions to be taken in any of these nature areas you will see that much of it concerns cutting back vegetation, dredging and weed removal.  Not in all areas admittedly but hardly as bad as you seem to be suggesting.

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In 2001 BW trialled new piling at Ellesmere on the Llangollen and Aston on the Montgomery. It was made of a glass composite material and the front face contained holes for invertebrates to create their own habitats. Did BW extend this experiment?

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Its a very good thing, have never seen some of these rarities, going to buy a shrimping net !

As soon as I get this boat bought grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Edited by LadyG

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The concern for Nature is an important facet of the CRT spectrum, however, such concern should not prohibit boat movements on the canal or interfere with restoration projects, as it has. Whilst everything possible should be done to protect the environment, there are times when the working of nature changes that environment and a balanced approach should be adopted. Sadly there are those amongst the environmentlist community who demand the un-achievable. Concepts that lead to the canal infrastructure being destabled for the protection of plants, invertebrates, fish and animals needs to be carefully thought through in order to meet that balance. Costly features that enable such protection can prevent restoration or maintenance.

Edited by Heartland

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7 hours ago, Heartland said:

The concern for Nature is an important facet of the CRT spectrum, however, such concern should not prohibit boat movements on the canal or interfere with restoration projects, as it has. Whilst everything possible should be done to protect the environment, there are times when the working of nature changes that environment and a balanced approach should be adopted. Sadly there are those amongst the environmentlist community who demand the un-achievable. Concepts that lead to the canal infrastructure being destabled for the protection of plants, invertebrates, fish and animals needs to be carefully thought through in order to meet that balance. Costly features that enable such protection can prevent restoration or maintenance.

Which part of the press release suggests to you that this will happen?

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Some people tend to hide behind word meanings, for example. It is the words Invasive Species Control. A look on the Montgomery Canal restoration project will illustrate this. Not to say this is an admirable thing to do, but it is time consuming especially the search for newts. Whilst the volunteers give their time freely the CRT staff overseeing the operation, I assume are paid. It may be a cynical thing to state, it is in their interest to keep their workload high as it keeps them in a job.

Another set of words- weed management and dredging- again a wonderful interpretation to ensure the diversity of plants on the waterway, yet too less control would result in the channel being blocked or weeds entagling boat propellors. Reducing dredging would also handicap navigation. Now, the Grantham is under restoration and hopefully some day boats will be able to pass through to Grantham itself, whatever the new terminus will prove to be.    

Grantham Canal

Leicestershire

Many species of breeding birds, water insects and rare aquatic plants.

Invasive species control, weed management and dredging carried out by volunteers and contractors.

 

 

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