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The charity making life better by water

Regional round-up - North

Back by popular demand, it’s our regional roundup, bringing you all the latest news from a canal or river near you. This time, we’re sharing our plans to restore wildlife habitats in Lancashire, celebrating arts and culture in South Yorkshire, and saving eels in the East Midlands.

Love nature? Help wildlife bloom by the Lune.

A boat crosses over a multi-arch canal aqueduct

With so much UK wildlife in decline, please help us give frogs, newts and dragonflies a home by restoring vital life-giving ponds close to the Lune Aqueduct this winter.

Visit our crowdfunder today to see how the ponds have attracted 127 species to the site. Learn why these ponds are now in urgent need of restoration, and discover how your gift today can restore the ponds this winter, so they buzz with life again next summer.

With just a few days left before our appeal ends, we urgently need to raise £2,000 to reach our £5,000 target, so the work can be completed this winter while water wildlife is hibernating or dormant. Then, when spring arrives, it will have a new home to move into right away.

Please join us and donate what you can to help wildlife in this much-loved area.

Embracing the arts in South Yorkshire

Over the past three years, we've been championing creativity in communities along the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal, running a series of workshops and events as part of our national arts programme. It culminated with The Light Tree Celebrations, a glorious finale on Victoria Quays in Sheffield.

A group of people celebrating

Named in honour of a strange, mystical tree that according to local legend, once grew on the banks of the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal, the event brought together people from neighbouring communities in a celebration of art, food and culture.

On the day, visitors were invited to experience a vivid range of cultural activities on the quayside, from Somali craft workshops and singing circles to seed planting and apple pressing.

People putting sliced apples into an apple press

The festival was filled with wild and wonderful art installations to spark the imagination, including a purpose-built cinema shed projecting images of magical plants, and an underwater microphone inviting people to listen to the sounds of the canal.

A group of people celebrating

As the day drew to a close, staff, guests and volunteers paraded along the quays and gathered for an extravagant feast under an old railway bridge.

Revellers danced on the banks of the canal, and a flotilla of boats towing purpose-built lights illuminated the darkening sky as the festivities came to a joyful end.

Giving endangered eels a helping hand on the River Trent

We recently teamed up with the Environment Agency, EDF and Uniper to help endangered eels make their way up the River Trent to complete an epic 3,000-mile journey.

The special ‘eel pass' will act like a ladder, enabling the eels to navigate their way over Stoke Bardolph Weir and reach vital feeding grounds.

A group of men standing next to a weir

The European eel has an extraordinary life cycle. Spawned in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda, they float for months on ocean currents before entering rivers and streams in Europe and North Africa. After spending up to 20 years feeding and growing, the eels return to their spawning grounds to repeat the cycle.

Unfortunately, this incredible transatlantic journey is often interrupted by obstacles, such as dams, weirs and lock gates. These man-made barriers, together with climate change and illegal fishing, have seen populations plummet by up to 90% in the past 40 years.

To give these remarkable creatures a fighting chance, special eel passes, like the one at Stoke Bardolph Weir, are essential. Thankfully, the work on the Trent is just the beginning, part of an extensive programme currently being rolled out across Europe to restore wetlands and remove barriers to the eels' migration routes.

In the coming years, we should see populations begin to recover, and we hope the European eel will return to our shores again and again.

Last Edited: 30 January 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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