The Canal and River Trust has started a project to clear reeds that are dominating parts of the Grantham Canal, improving water flow and enhancing habitats for water wildlife.
Over time some sections of the canal, which is disconnected from the main waterway network and mostly unnavigable to boats, have become clogged with reeds and other vegetation.
These reeds can slow 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.
To improve the situation, we have started to clear a four-metre-wide channel along the middle of the canal at key sites including Kinoulton, Hickling, Cotgrave, Gamston and Lady Bay in West Bridgford.
As well as improving flow, the channel will provide clear water, perfect for fish, dragonflies and other aquatic plants.
The works will involve using a long-reach excavator to pull reeds out from the centre of the canal. At all the sites the vegetation will be placed along the canal bank to enable bugs or invertebrates to make their way safely back into the water.
Funding for the project has come from Rushcliffe Borough Council which has awarded a £27,000 grant from its UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
We are inviting you to have your say on the works with our short online survey.
A valuable place for wildlife
Richard Bennett, our heritage & environment manager, said: “The Grantham Canal is a valuable place for wildlife and a much-loved place for local people to enjoy a breath of fresh air, so it’s really important that we carry out these works.
“It’s easy to forget that the canal is a man-made environment and needs careful management to keep it a special place that benefits both people and wildlife. These works will improve the overall health of the Grantham Canal, increasing the variety of habitats available and improving water flow along the canal, which, because it has few streams and other sources of water flowing into it, is heavily reliant on rainfall in some sections to keep it topped up.
“We’re very grateful for funding from Rushcliffe Borough Council which has made these improvements possible. As a charity, this kind of support is vital in our ongoing work to protect and preserve our historic waterways and ensure that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Ensuring the water flow on the canal
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Communities and Climate Change Cllr Abby Brennan added: “We’re pleased to provide grant funding through UKSPF for this project which is vital for protecting the wildlife and nature along the Grantham Canal.
“As outlined in our Climate Change Strategy, we want to help mitigate the effects of climate change on wildlife and biodiversity and nature conservation has been identified as a priority for Rushcliffe residents.
“These works will help to ensure the water keeps flowing along the canal, maintaining the valuable open water habitat and providing a scenic water view for local residents and visitors using the canal path.”
With bird nesting season approaching daily checks are being carried out ahead of the works and the programme will be modified to avoid disturbance of any nesting birds.