Flowing fields of Water crowfoot flowers, carpeting the river’s surface in spring and summer was, until recently, one of the most distinctive characteristics of the river Wye.
Why does it need protecting?
Water crowfoot is common in the UK, but an estimated 95% of it has disappeared from the river Wye in the last 5 years. In recent summers severe algal blooms have turned the Wye green, smothering much of the Water crowfoot. It supports diverse populations of water life so its loss has a knock on effect on other species. Its rapid decline is an alarming wake-up call.
Where is it found?
It is found in the Wye down to the tidal limit at Bigsweir and can also be seen in ponds, ditches and streams.
Why we chose it?
Water crowfoot is a good indicator of the overall health of the Wye. Whilst local restoration projects can have an impact (as on the River Lugg), we are largely unable to control water quality which so affects river species such as Water crowfoot, as pollution is occurring up river in areas outside the AONB. It’s thought recent extreme flooding events have also contributed to its decline, ripping the plants roots from the riverbed. We can use Water crowfoot’s highly visible decline to galvanise discussion and action to address water quality issues on a landscape scale.