Manchester City Council

Floating ecosystems will improve biodiversity in Bridgewater Basin

An army of volunteers will be on hand (Tues, 1 Aug) to create floating islands that will help attract a raft of fauna and flora to the city centre canal.

The project is part of a wider move to increase the quality of the city’s green spaces and waterways, breathing new life in to the area to create an attractive new space that would be otherwise underused.

Following a similar project in Boggart Hole Clough, the Bridgewater Basin will see six floating habitats launched into the water that will support active ecosystems, improve biodiversity and water quality in the basin.

Working in partnership, Manchester City Council – along with BDP, the Bridgewater Hall, the Petersfield Group, and the Friends of the Rochdale 9 – have enlisted the expertise of international aquatic scientists from Biomatrix to design and build the floating green spaces.

Around 25 volunteers from Manchester City Council and the Friends of the Rochdale 9 will help create the islands that are hoped to attract a range of new wildlife, including: bees, dragonflies and other insects, which will in turn feed birds and bats. Below water the ecosystems will also attract a range of fish species.

The final islands will be launched into place on Wednesday, 2 August with music accompaniment. Full details in notes to editors. 

Cllr Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “We have an opportunity through our extensive city centre waterway network to really innovate about how those underused areas can positively impact the city’s biodiversity and resilience to climate change – while also helping to create attractive and welcoming spaces within the city.

“The project has relied on the time of volunteers who have given their own time to give something back to the city that we can all enjoy. For that we must thank them.”.”

Andrew Bolt, CEO of The Bridgewater Hall, said: “I’m very pleased that the Bridgewater Hall will continue to be associated with this project, not only because of the positive impact it has on both the area and environment but also because of the opportunity it presents for the Hall to engage with the members of the local community who have kindly volunteered their time to work on this.”

Anthony Simpson, Chair of Petersfield Group, said: “We see the Bridgewater Basin Greening Project as a key step in further enhancing the already attractive public spaces around the blend of historic and modern architecture that makes up the Petersfield area of the City. 

“By bringing a green landscape into the heart of the Petersfield area, it has the potential to positively impact upon the experience of the many thousands of people who visit, work, reside or pass through the area everyday whilst also encouraging the spread native wildlife.”

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