We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

A bird sanctuary on the River Lee

We've improved the fortunes of London's birds by transforming an urban stretch of canal into a green haven for wildlife and waterfowl.

Two mandarin ducks stood on grass Mandarin ducks

Water-loving birds in East London were having a rocky time, as waves from passing boats disturbed their nests. By planting reed beds we've been able to provide suitable nesting spots and encourage wildilfe back to the area.

A waterway devoid of nature doesn't offer the peaceful escape that so many people need in their every day lives. By completing this project we've not only improved the lives of the birds, we've also enhanced the experience for everyone who visits.

Land & Water, the UK’s leading dredging company, supported the project and donated £6,000 of materials and the manpower to install reed beds. Natural England also offered a grant worth £9,600. The work took place along 100 metres of the canal at Violet Road and heading south towards Limehouse Basin. 

Nesting safely

The reed beds were particularly needed on the Lee as much of the waterway had hard, metal edges. The waves caused by passing boats used to bounce back off the walls and overturn or flood the nests of birds which chose to make their homes on the canal. By building a thick wall of reeds, the waves are now absorbed and coots, moorhens, ducks and other waterfowl are able to nest safely. 

The gabion baskets that form the platform and anchor for the reed beds also offer excellent habitat for fish, offering protection from predation. The reeds have shot roots into the water to provide new habitat for insects such as dragonfly and damselflies, as well as feeding and spawning areas for fish, helping to increase the biodiversity of the waterway.

Jayne Hornsby, business development manager at Land & Water, said: “Land & Water helps the Canal & River Trust carry out some extremely important work looking after the nation’s canals and rivers. We whole heartedly support the work they are doing to regenerate our waterways and I think it is great that we can offer free support in this way to encourage these projects. Let’s hope others will pitch in too.”