A stretch of a city centre canal is to be transformed into a wildlife haven thanks to a new ‘vegetation carpet’.
A team of specialist workers have set to work this week attaching the carpet - a wall of plants that will make the Rochdale Canal near Whitworth Street West look more like a river than an artificial waterway.
The carpets are made out of plants that are naturally found alongside riverbanks, such as marsh marigold, yellow flag iris and purple loosestrife. These will attract insects that will in turn bring more bats and birds such as blue tits and robins to that part of the city centre.
The carpets, which will rise up from beneath the water level, will be bolted to the side of the canal to ensure the plants do not float away. They have also been designed to make sure litter does not get caught up in the plants.
If successful, similar items could be installed along canals in other parts of the city.
Meanwhile, water lilies are to be planted in the Bridgewater Basin, a spur of the Rochdale Canal next to the Bridgewater Hall.
The work, funded by Manchester City Council with support from CityCo and British Waterways, is the latest project designed to attract more wildlife to the canal.
A brightly coloured duck house, along with a ramp letting ducks and ducklings in and out of the water, was set up there last year, along with bat boxes, nest boxes and floral planters.
Councillor Paul Andrews, Manchester City Council's executive member for neighbourhood services, said: "People who live in or who visit the city centre get a real boost from seeing all the wildlife we have on offer.
"The Rochdale Canal has become much greener and more vibrant in recent years and this stretch is going to look more like a natural river thanks to this scheme. "
David Baldacchino, waterway manager, Manchester and Pennine waterways added: "The Rochdale Canal is a hidden gem which runs right through the heart of Manchester providing a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
"This project working with Manchester City Council and CityCo will help the process of bringing the Rochdale Canal to life by creating a unique haven for wildlife right in the city centre."