The charity making life better by water

Removing floating pennywort from the River Soar

This five-week project has resulted in 7km of waterway being cleared of floating pennywort, which has the potential to devastate aquatic ecosystems.

Floating pennywort is a highly invasive plant which grows up to 20cm per day.

Its dominating presence can smother habitats, block water flow, crowd out native plants and take oxygen from fish and insects. It also causes major problems for boaters and other craft users, with its long, fleshy stems tangling in propellers and oars.

Like Japanese knotweed, floating pennywort also has the ability to grow from minuscule fragments, making its removal incredibly difficult and expensive.

Before and after removing floating pennywort

250 tonnes in five weeks

Together with Leicester City Council, and with support from The Rothen Group and funding from Severn Trent Water, we've been working hard to excavate an incredible 250 tonnes from the River Soar, near Abbey Park.

This huge removal project saw 7km of waterway cleared between Leicester Marina to Evans Weir, south of Abbey Park, in five weeks. Specialised weed conver boats were used, which have various attachments such as rakes, cutters and baskets that help scoop out the weed.

All of the floating pennywort was disposed of on site, which helped reduce significant carbon emissions and cost.

Removing floating pennywort using a weed conver boat

Invasive Species Eradication Project 2021-2025

This work is part of our award-winning Canal & River Invasive Species Eradication Project.

Fully funded by Severn Trent Water, this ground-breaking initiative focuses on tackling priority invasive plant species that have found their way into our waterways.

How you can join the fight against invasive species

If you spend time on our canals and rivers, one of the most important things you can do is to remember to Check, Clean, Dry. These steps help stop the spread of harmful plants and animals to a new area, and should always be done before exiting a waterway - even if you are moving to another spot just a few miles away.

If you would like to volunteer on this project with us, we are currently looking for someone to help out with admin and reporting. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

We will also be looking for more volunteers to help manage some of the sites we are working on. Check back here for further details soon.

Last Edited: 23 December 2022

photo of a location on the canals
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