Aquatic (channel) vegetation

In parallel with our dredging programme and in some cases prior to dredging, we manage vegetation growing within the water. We aim to maintain navigation in our waterways and those used infrequently can get choked with vegetation which can also be bad for wildlife.

Aquatic vegetation

Aquatic vegetation includes plants growing below, floating or growing out of the water. We aim to retain one boat width of channel, with locations where 2 narrow boats can pass each other safely, boaters can see clearly ahead and winding holes / landings / moorings are accessible. We also manage aquatic vegetation to allow water to flow easier to supply other areas of the waterway network.

Some waterways need more of this type of management than others, and the type of management varies in scale, method and frequency. We manage aquatic vegetation in various ways including using ‘weed boats’ to cut the vegetation off, spraying it with herbicide and digging it out with special machines and attachments. We spend nearly £800,000 on aquatic vegetation management each year. Our aquatic vegetation management programme is planned 1 year in advance, consequently any reactive works can be difficult for us to undertake. Disposal of the material generated is expensive, unless we can put it on the banks of the waterway which we cannot always do due to land ownership.

Aquatic vegetation is one of our most important wildlife assets because our waterways are key ‘open water’ habitat sites. We have a duty to protect and enhance this significant habitat resource for the country. We aim to maintain navigation and not impact boats using our waterway, but ensure we do not have an overall negative impact upon wildlife. 

Last date edited: 6 July 2018