We have launched a 12-month nature project to improve vulnerable wildlife habitats across 10 key sites totalling 400 hectares – a combined area greater than the City of London.
The ‘Making Special Places for Nature’ project spans reservoirs and canals in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Greater Manchester, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Berkshire and mid Wales. It will benefit water shrews, voles, otters, bats, dragonflies and other rare fauna and flora.
We are appealing to volunteers to join us in this mammoth task and hope to encourage many residents, particularly young people, to roll up their sleeves and get involved in improving their own local nature reserve.
The project, made possible thanks to a £350,000 award from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will involve a wide range of habitat protection work including bank restoration, shade removal and improvements in water quality. The project will also assess the health and populations of various rare species including the shy water shrew, which was last subject to a national survey more than a decade ago.
Our ecologist Stuart Moodie said: "The Eurasian water shrew and white clawed crayfish are among a wide range of indigenous species which need an extra helping hand. Their natural habitats are threatened by run off from agricultural fertilisers and invasive plants and animals. Increasing the growth of aquatic plants helps encourage insects and invertebrates which in turn promotes healthy populations of fish and small mammals. Biodiversity is the key to a flourishing waterway.
"Getting local people involved in managing these reserves is a key priority. We would appeal to anyone who wants to get in touch with nature and play an important role in conserving their local area to contact us. This is a genuine chance to make a real difference."
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: "I am delighted that as a result of funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery that Canal & River Trust are able to launch this 12 month nature project."