Floating pennywort removed from Parkeston river by Environment Agency
- Credit: Archant
A river in north-east Essex has had a large amount of floating pennywort weed removed by the Environment Agency.
Floating pennywort is an alien invasive plant which is capable of growing up to 20cm per day.
If left unchecked it can swamp wildlife and harm habitats.
The clearing and removal work was carried out on the Dock River at Parkeston.
Staff from the Environment Agency cut reeds and removed the floating pennywort from the river itself using work boats.
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This was then followed up with removal of any remaining plants by hand.
The Environment Agency is landowner of the site, which has a pumping station upstream.
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The work was necessary to eradicate the pennywort to prevent it spreading elsewhere along the waterway.
Christine Dulake, Environment Agency team leader for asset performance in north Essex, said: “Removing the floating pennywort allows native plants and other wildlife to return to the river to a balance and allow healthy habitat for fish, water birds and other species.
“It also helps our pumping station operate effectively that moves flows through and out to the sea.”
The Environment Agency’s contractors will be returning regularly after the work to remove any regrowth.
Floating pennywort was first naturalised in the UK in 1990 as a result of discarded plants from garden ponds. It can grow rapidly and quickly dominate a waterbody, forming thick mats and slowing or stopping water flow and leisure use of the waterway.
It can out-compete native species by blocking out light, causing deoxygenation, obstructing air-breathing insects from reaching the water surface and reducing water temperatures.
Members of the public can report floating pennywort and other non-native invasive species using the Plant Tracker app.
For more information visit www.planttracker.org.uk