Posted on: Monday 12 August 2019
An army of 2mm long weevils have been introduced into the Llantarnam section of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal to help battle the rapid growth of water fern.
On Wednesday 8 August the weevils were released into the water by local councillors and the council’s biodiversity champion.
Water fern (Azolla filliculoides) can be problematic if left in a canal network due to its quick growth. This tiny fern can cover a large area of a canal in a matter of weeks which reduces light and oxygen levels within the water killing fish and other wildlife.
It was introduced into the UK in the 1800s as an ornamental plant and is now one of the UK’s most invasive species. The weevils are regarded as the greenest and most sustainable way to tackle the problem as they don’t cause any damage to humans, other animals or plant life.
Councillor Fiona Cross, executive member for the environment, and biodiversity champion, said: “It was great seeing the weevils being released last week. Nature helping nature is a great way to solve some environmental problems.
Most people would have probably seen water Fern (Azolla) before and not thought much about it. However, it’s actually a serious threat to water wildlife across the country. Hopefully, the weevils will do what nature has intended them to do and will help reduce the amount of water fern present in the canal.