People and wildlife are set to benefit on the Montgomery Canal as part of a unique partnership between waterways and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust and ethical drinks company Belu Water.
As a first project, Belu is investing £10,000 to help the Trust reduce siltation and improve water quality in the Montgomery Canal by building ‘leaky dams’. The project will take place close to the source of Belu’s drinking water in mid-Wales.
The increasing frequency and severity of rainfall is causing a growing build-up of silt in the Montgomery Canal as water runs in from feeder channels across surrounding farmland. This reduces depth of water for current or future navigation and impacts water quality, important for the rare and important wildlife in the canal which is a Special Area of Conservation.
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With backing from the Welsh Government, the Trust has been trialling the use of the ‘leaky dams’ that slow the flow of water in feeder channels and trap silt before it reaches the canal. The dams also act as a valuable habitat for wildlife, particularly invertebrates.
Richard Parry, chief executive at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Montgomery Canal is one of the most beautiful waterways and home to a host of flora and fauna, including rare plant species and the endangered water vole – best known as ‘Ratty’ in Wind in the Willows. However, the changing climate and increased run-off from neighbouring farmland are having a significant impact on the health of the canal.
“We are delighted to enter into this partnership with Belu Water, which will enable us to carry out work to look after canal for both people and wildlife and make it more resilient to climate change.
“As our partnership with Belu Water develops, we aim to work together to increase people’s wellbeing, enhance social inclusion and promote nature recovery and climate resilience across waterways in England and Wales, supporting their role for navigation and bringing people and nature together in these special blue-green spaces.”
Natalie Campbell, joint CEO of Belu, comments: “The partnership will focus on both organisations’ ambitions to unlock the power of water and transform blue spaces, like canals, to benefit the communities and wildlife they run through. This is the first stage of a long-term impact partnership to support nature-based water stewardship and deliver our purpose – to change the way the world sees water.”
For more information and for details of how to volunteer or donate to the Canal & River Trust, please visit canalrivertrust.org.uk.
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