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British Canoeing president praises volunteers at floating pennywort event

British Canoeing's president Dee Paterson joined volunteers and partners on the water to help shift about four tonnes of invasive floating pennywort.

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Dee Paterson helped to remove floating pennywort near Enfield Lock.

The work took place near Enfield Lock on the River Lee, at Mossops Creek, as part of the Lee Valley Social Impact Project, on 19 October.

British Canoeing were joined by the Environment Agency, Angling Trust, Canal and River Trust, Thames Water, Animal and Plant Agency, plus a number of other volunteers on the bank side.

Four tonnes (4,000kg) of floating pennywort, a non-native plant from South America, was removed to make the navigation accessible and to help wildlife.

It brings the total to about 20 tonnes being removed from the Lee Valley area in 2023.

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British Canoeing president Dee Paterson joined 25 paddlers on the water, along with five paddlesport instructors.

"The volunteers learnt about invasive species and made a huge effort to tackle them," she said. 

"'Maintaining biodiversity of the waterway to support wildlife and maintain water quality is so important.

"The impact was amazing from talking to people. How strong they felt and the understanding was profound from their experience. 

"They left tired from their efforts but pleased with their contribution to the project. 

"Great team building exercise indeed with positive environmental impact."

Use INNS mapper to report invasive species >>

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Pip Rowlandson, British Canoeing's Environment Project Officer, said: "I would like to thank everyone who took part from our partners to volunteers. 

"A big thanks to the Angling Trust's Drew Chadwick for being the bank side organiser and leading biosecurity efforts, washing the boats down following the work.

"Pennywort expert Andy Gee and Whoosh Canoe Club were absolute stars, as ever."

"Thanks to the Environment Agency and Canal & River trust volunteers on the working boat and also Darren Starling who is the Enfield lock lead.

"We rely on Darren and the trust for providing boats, buoyancy aids and helping on the boat and the lock access, truly unsung heroes."

More events are planned throughout the rest of 2023 and into 2024. We will keep you informed about when you can sign up.

Find out more the Clear Access, Clear Waters campaign >>

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