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News article created on 31 March 2017

Students help to monitor ecology on Greater Manchester's canals

Students from Bury College have answered our call for people to help monitor the wildlife along the Huddersfield and Rochdale canals so that it can be protected for local people to enjoy.

Luronium flowering

Working closely with our wildlife experts, the college students are helping to monitor the water quality in the canal and identify the different types of plants and animals that live in and around the water. 

The Huddersfield and Rochdale canals are over 200-years old and their careful management means they are today home to a rich array of flora and fauna. Stretches of the canals are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the varied plant populations and the Rochdale Canal is a Special Area of Conservation due to the presence of Floating Water Plantain, Luronium natans.

With the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, we are working with local schools and colleges and other local groups to help reverse a wider nationwide decline of the rare aquatic Floating Water Plantain as well as improving the canals for much loved species including kingfishers and dragonflies.

As part of the wider project, working with volunteers from local communities, we have also been planting wild flower seeds along the canal to create a ‘bee highway’ route.

James Wynn from the Canal & River Trust comments: "Thanks to the funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, we’re able to work with Bury College on this project to carry out lots of environmental monitoring on both the Huddersfield and Rochdale canals. It’s important that we can carry out these surveys so the canals continue to be a fantastic wildlife corridor for the local community to enjoy on their doorstep.

"The students have been fascinated to learn all about the canal and the varied wildlife that lives in it, from herons and damselfly to the rare types of plants. The results from the surveys will help us to plan future work to keep the canal a special place for all."