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News article created on 28 September 2012

Growing weed on the waterways

At the Canal & River Trust we’re working hard to improve the condition of the ecologically important sites on our waterways and this week we’ve been planting pond weed to improve the biodiversity of many sections of the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal.

Plants are an essential part of ensuring the biodiversity of the canal. They provide a valuable home to insects and fish. Penny Foster

Our waterways are home to a wide variety of plants and creatures, which thrive in the green corridors provided by our canals and rivers. However, in certain areas of our network the water quality has discouraged underwater plants from growing.

Thanks to £5,000 of funding from Natural England, one of our ecologists Penny has been addressing the issue of poor water quality and transplanting healthy plants from wildlife-rich areas of the canal to areas in need of ‘greening up’.

Planting pondweed

This week Penny and her team have been selecting both rare and common weed species including grass wrack pondweed and broad leaved pondweed from areas abundant with greenery. They have then replanted the weeds and their seeds to revive the fortunes and aerate the areas affected by low water quality.

To make sure these plants thrive in their new location our ecologists have been working with several partners to address the causes of poor water quality. Fencing fields to separate cattle from the canal and laying hedges to reduce the shade cast on the water will make a big difference to the future of our waterway wildlife.

Penny explains: “Plants are an essential part of ensuring the biodiversity of the canal. They provide a valuable home to insects and fish. This is just the beginning; I have a range of habitat improvement ideas I want to deliver on the waterway with the help of funding partners and volunteers.”