Nature Networks Fund
The Montgomery Canal was once a bustling industrial waterway connecting Shropshire and eastern parts of Wales, before suffering years of neglect. Its Welsh section is now a Special Area of Conservation as it is home to a variety of rare species like the floating water plantain, Luronium natans.
The Luronium Futures project aimed to better manage the canal environment to ensure that the precious native species were not overwhelmed by other vegetation.
Several groups of volunteers manage trees, remove invasive species and control the growth of vegetation, and their ongoing work was crucial to the project’s success.
The project’s activities included:
- baseline condition surveys of the canal to inform restoration work and to help measure the impact of improvements
- clearing vegetation from the canal, trimming overhanging trees and some dredging to maintain an open channel of water
- enhancing three sections of the canal which are part of nature reserves
- moving luronium plants to repopulate sections of the canal that had been cleared
- continuing previous work on the Guilsfield Arm of the canal, restoring water and increasing biodiversity in areas that had become filled with sediment and overgrown
- designing and constructing ‘leaky dams’ from natural material which stops soil being washed into the canal and providing nutrients to invasive vegetation
Mark Evans, regional director for Wales & South West at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Luronium Futures project has played a significant role in our work revitalising and conserving the natural environment of the historic Montgomery Canal. It has enabled us to implement measures to preserve and enhance the natural heritage of the area, safeguarding wildlife habitats, adopting sustainable practices, and promoting biodiversity.
“The project presented a transformative opportunity for the Montgomery Canal, breathing new life into this historically significant waterway.”
The Luronium Futures project was awarded funding through the Nature Networks Fund, distributed by the Heritage Fund on behalf of the Welsh Government in partnership with Natural Resources Wales.