Many waterside habitats have become fragmented or have vanished from the countryside entirely, making waterways especially valuable habitats and much-needed corridors for wildlife.
For some species, our waterways are among their last remaining strongholds and, for many others, they provide vital resources now scarce in the wider countryside.
Not just canals
Canals are probably the most familiar waterbodies. However, we also have many reservoirs, lakes and ponds, hedgerows and trees to look after.
Canal hedgerows, for example, are some of our oldest waterway features and lifelines for many species, providing food, shelter and places to breed.
Our many built structures, including aqueducts and bridges, play an important but often overlooked role as wildlife habitats, especially because of their proximity to water.
As climate change may force species to alter their ranges, the connectedness of our linear network of varied habitats to the surrounding landscape can enable and support them.