24th May 2011
British Waterways have put out an appeal for help to clear weeds on the Wyrley & Essington Canal part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations.
People who are passionate about helping their local environment can get involved in a major new two-year project to improve the biodiversity of a West Midlands canal.
British Waterways has secured a £100,000 grant from the SITA Trust to tackle the problem of aggressive invasive plant species on the Wyrley & Essington Canal and is now looking for local people to get involved.
Species such as Floating Pennywort need to be managed in order to promote the growth of native plant species such as Floating Water Plantain. It is anticipated that the works will also benefit species such as water voles, great crested newts, white clawed crayfish and red eyed damselflies.
British Waterways is working with the Black Country Living Landscape Community Involvement Programme funded by Natural England and the BIG Lottery Fund to recruit local community volunteers who will work alongside specialist contractors to carry out a number of works to limit the spread of invasive species. This will include physical removal and limiting run-off from adjacent land by installing natural filters such as reed beds.
Help your local waterway
The project will be led by British Waterways and supported by the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, Wolverhampton City Council, the Environment Agency and the Birmingham and Black Country Biodiversity Partnership.
Volunteers are needed at various locations along the Wryley and Essington Canal between May and September this year and throughout 2012, working two to three days a month including weekends where necessary.
Volunteers need to be physically fit as they will be required to walk sections of the canal as part of the monitoring. In return they will enjoy the opportunity to gain skills and experience in ecological surveying and the satisfaction of helping their local canal.
Further training and volunteer opportunities may also be available to competent and enthusiastic volunteers.
British Waterways’ volunteer co-ordinator Steve Bicknell said: “This project provides a great opportunity for people to assist us in controlling invasive non-native plants, learn about the problems they cause and help us spread the message to others. For anyone who wants to help their local waterway this is a fantastic opportunity to get ‘hands-on’ right now and to also have a role in monitoring the canal in future years.”
If you would like to find out more, contact British Waterways’ Sarah French on 01827 252097 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.