Waterways and wellbeing charity, the Canal & River Trust, has started a project to clear reeds on the Grantham Canal, improving water flow and enhancing habitats for watery wildlife.
Over time sections of the canal, which is disconnected from the main waterway network and not yet fully navigable along its entire length, has become clogged with reeds and other vegetation.
The vegetation can cause the loss of ‘open water’ which is important for fish and many insects. It also slows the flow of water along the canal and some sections have experienced very low water levels in recent years, particularly with summers becoming hotter and drier.
In order to improve the situation, the Trust has started to clear a channel down the middle of the canal at key sites including Kinoulton, Hickling, Cotgrave, Gamston and Lady Bay. The channel will create clear water, perfect for fish, dragonflies and other aquatic plants.
Most of the works will involve using a long reach excavator to pull reeds out from the centre of the canal. At Lady Bay and Gamston, where the affected stretches are quite short, teams will clear the reeds by hand from a boat. At all the sites the removed reeds will be placed along the canal bank to enable any bugs or invertebrates to make their way safely back into the water.
Richard Bennett, heritage & environment manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Grantham Canal is such an important place for wildlife and a much-loved place for local people, now more than ever, to stretch their legs and enjoy a breath of fresh air, so we’re delighted to be carrying out these works.
“Removing some of the reeds will improve the overall health of the canal and increase the range of habitats present.
“Importantly, these works will also improve water flow along the canal, which has very limited water supply and is heavily reliant on rainfall in some sections. Last summer a section in Kinoulton became dry for the first time and, while we may not be able to create a new supply overnight, these works will help to make better use of the water in the canal. It’s a great example of the work that goes in to giving Mother Nature a helping hand.”
The works are due to be finished by mid-February, ahead of bird nesting season. For more information about the Canal & River Trust, including how to volunteer and donate, visit: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk.