A £179,000 dredging project to improve water quality and encourage rare aquatic plants to grow along the Grantham Canal is underway.
The Canal & River Trust, the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of the nation’s historic waterways, is dredging silt from a 6km stretch of the canal to protect important habitats.
The stretch of canal is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because it offers ideal conditions for important aquatic plants.
The £179,000 project, between Harby and Redmile in the Vale of Belvoir, will reduce the amount of silt on the canal bed ensuring a healthy slow flow of water which plants, like the nationally scarce grasswrack pondweed, need to thrive.
The dredging will also help to manage the growth of reeds which can over-dominate and make it difficult for other aquatic plants to compete. The dredging will create a 1.2m channel in the middle of the canal which will allow the all-important flow of water between the reeds along the bank.
Funding for the project has come in the form of a £100,000 grant awarded by The Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF), and £10,000 from Melton Borough Council. The remainder has been provided by the Canal & River Trust.
The LCF is a vital source of funding that lets waste companies retain a small part of their landfill tax bill so that it can be awarded to community and environmental projects.
The works are being carried out by contractors Land & Water and will continue up until Christmas.
Lucie Hoelmer, enterprise manager for the Canal & River Trust said: “The Grantham Canal is a really special place for wildlife making it one of the nation’s most cherished waterways.
“However, whilst it looks idyllic we do have to give Mother Nature a helping hand from time-to-time to make sure that particular species – such as reeds – don’t over-dominate and harm the overall ecology of the canal.
“This project will help to maintain a nice healthy flow of water through the canal, encouraging some of our most threatened aquatic plants to thrive and ensuring that the canal remains a really special place to visit.”