The Middle Level Commissioners, in partnership with Cambridgeshire Acre and the support of the Anglian Water Invasive Species fund, is launching a campaign to raise awareness of Floating Pennywort in our waterways. New flyers will be distributed throughout the Middle Level system, along with coasters and fridge magnets.
Floating Pennywort is an invasive plant species that grows in UK waterways. It can grow up to 20cm per day and propagate from tiny fragments (as small as a 20p piece). Once present it can quickly dominate a water course – forming thick mats of vegetation that impede water flow and impact amenity use. It poses a risk to biodiversity by causing habitats to deteriorate through over-competition, blocking out light and deoxygenation.
Floating pennywort can be costly to remove, create substantial disruption and, if not dealt with in time, take years to properly eradicate. It is listed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in England meaning it is an offence to plant or otherwise cause this species to grow in the wild.
Thankfully we do not yet have this species in our system – and we hope it stays that way! If you spot it, please report it to us using the contact information below.
What to look for
· Waxy, multi-lobed leaves about 7cm across – edges appear ‘crinkled’
· Leaf is ‘heart-shaped’
· Narrow, fleshy stems
· Clusters or mats of vegetation in the watercourse channel and sides
What to do
1. Note the location
2. Take a photo (only if safe to do so)
3. Report any sightings (confirmed or otherwise – better to be safe than sorry) to the Middle Level Commissioners
4. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Or call 01354 653232
Photos: (Above) Floating Pennywort leaf (image provided by Environment Agency)
(Below) Floating Pennywort beginning to dominate a river channel (R Brown)