Wet winter puts damsels in distress

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The wettest winter on record could have had a lasting impact on populations of dragonflies and damselflies in Chronicle Country.

The Canal & River Trust is asking people to help monitor the insects as part of its annual Great Nature Watch.

Fluctuating river levels and fast currents are known to wash away dragonfly larva (or nymphs). As larva live underwater for up to three years, unprecedented floods may have a long-term effect on dragonfly populations.

Peter Birch, group environment manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Dragonflies, and their sister damselflies, flourish in clean water which is rich in bankside vegetation, such as reeds. This makes them a fantastic indicator of the health of a canal or river.

“By taking part in the Great Nature Watch, you can help us monitor numbers of dragonflies, damselflies, and in fact, all species living on the Grand Union Canal in Biggleswade over the coming years.”

The Great Nature Watch asks you to record your sightings of all wildlife you see on any canals, rivers, reservoirs or lakes.

See the Trust’s free mobile app (search for Canal & River Trust) or go to www.canal