The Trust is using the funding to embark on a three year project to increase the number of groups volunteering to adopt 1-2 mile stretches of canal or river through the Trust's ‘Adopt a Canal' initiative, as well as enhancing the waterways ecology. The project will be made possible through a grant of £249,000 over three years from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and £100,000 funding from players of the People's Postcode Lottery (PPL).
Martha Oddy, trusts fundraising manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We're delighted with this news and thank both the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the People's Postcode Lottery for their generous support. As a newly established charity it is particularly valuable for us to be able to partner with such significant funders at a pivotal time in the history of the waterways.
“One of our aims is to encourage people to take active long term ownership of their local canal or river and help us pioneer a more integrated model of environmental and community engagement. We want to shape the best possible future for our waterways and the thoughts and involvement of the people that use them on a daily basis is essential to that success.”
Members of the public interested in engaging more with their local waterway will be able to get involved with long term ecological projects which in turn will help support many UK species which are currently at the risk of extinction. Projects will include:
- Extending the existing green corridor, linking isolated populations of notable plant species to create a longer habitat resilient to environmental changes;
- Implementing a tree and hedge management plan to improve water quality and habitat conditions for key species. It will also enhance the towpath for use by members of the local community;
- Improving water quality through targeting potentially polluting discharges;
- Removing invasive and non-native plant species to improve conditions for key species.
Peter Birch, group environment manager for the Canal & River Trust, added: “Although our waterways were not built for wildlife, areas such as the three chosen are recognised as important biodiversity sites and now support a wide variety of plants and animals, some of which are now quite rare, such as floating water plantain, otters and water voles.
“Our 2,000 mile waterway network provides high quality habitat diversity that can help connect wildlife, instead of leaving them to survive in small fragmented pockets, which is essential to support sustainable populations. Community support in achieving our aims is vital so we hope that people support this ambitious project.”