Plans to restore Canvey Lake as wildlife habitat

Mick Ferris
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Canvey Lake will become a sustainable habitat for wildlife under plans being developed by the town council. The impact of climate change has seen extreme heat, lack of rainfall and the shallow nature of the lake cause serious problems at the site in recent years.

In the summer of 2022, extreme weather conditions and limited rain causing reduced oxygen levels, and more concentrated toxins in the water, led to the death of fish, and other wildlife.

Since then, more than 800 fish have been humanely relocated as part of a three-year programme to move most of the fish out of the lake.

Now, working with partners including the Environment Agency, Essex County Council, Castle Point Borough Council, Anglian Water and Essex Wildlife Trust, a plan is being developed to see how the lake can live up to its designation as a Local Nature Reserve.

Town Mayor Cllr Elaine Harvey said: “Our primary aim is to protect the remaining wildlife from further harm.

“It must be remembered that the primary function of the lake is to collect surface water runoff. It is designed to take water from the surrounding roads, and as such is not a natural lake environment.

“We have to strike a careful balance between that reality and the desire to increase biodiversity and retain the lake as a public amenity.”

As it develops plans for a nature-based approach to the long-term management of the lake, Canvey Island Town Council will consult further with nature and wildlife experts.

Last year residents set up a crowdfunding appeal to buy aerators for the lake in a bid to increase oxygen levels in the water. One is currently being used and it is hoped that the second will be installed again this year should there be sustained hot and dry periods over the summer.

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk