The charity making life better by water

The search for growers of floating water-plantain

After a successful bid to the Levelling Up Fund last year, works have started to bring together the next phase of the Montgomery Canal restoration, in partnership with Powys County Council and supported by the Montgomery Canal Partnership.

Luronium natans growing on the Montgomery Canal

We're seeking large scale growers of aquatic plants to work with over the next few years, to propagate and translocate specimens into nature reserves.

With several kilometres of dredging, two new bridges and the creation of three new nature reserves – the project will be no small feat.

The ecology of the area, and its Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designation, make conserving the unique aquatic plant assemblage a priority for the project team.

Luronium natans, or floating water-plantain as it is commonly known, is what gives the Montgomery Canal its high ecological importance. The canal holds the largest and most extensive population of floating water-plantain in Britain and is a highly significant lowland population.

growing tanks at Ness Botanic Gadens-web

In favourable management conditions the species can be dominant over kilometre lengths of canal, carpeting the shallow bed and colonising in abundance.

This is a semi-natural population, having colonised from drift material or seed but it requires periodic human disturbance for continued growth. There are many other species that outcompete Luronium within the encroaching vegetation of the canal channel, and the lack of disturbance to the water with no boat movements, has only exacerbated the challenge it faces.

Trays of Luronium natans at Ness Botanic Gardens from propagation in an project in the early 2000's Credit: Nick Birkinshaw

The Montgomery Canal is a vital substitute for the species' former slow-moving, mesotrophic river niche, which has been largely destroyed in lowland Britain.

The new nature reserves, totalling over 6 hectares, will create a safe, and well managed haven where we hope the Luronium can thrive, without too much disturbance, but still be closely managed.

The Canal & River Trust are seeking large scale growers of aquatic plants to work with over the next few years, to propagate and translocate specimens into the nature reserves once completed.

If you are interested in finding out more, please download our Call for EOI's.

Last Edited: 19 October 2022

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration