The Crane Valley Partnership

Biodiversity

The River Crane has been designated by the London Biodiversity Partnership Rivers and Streams Habitat Action Plan  (HAP) committee as one of the flagship rivers in London. The Environment Agency’s strategy for restoring rivers in North London has identified key areas of work along the river, which has also been identified as a regional Integrated Biodiversity Delivery Area .

The corridor of the Crane Valley includes habitats such as pastures and grassland, dry woodland, wet woodland and scrub, reservoirs and ponds, hedges and ditches and the large area of Hounslow Heath.

Old watermeadows at Green Lane

Marshes are often found where there is a transition between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The dominant marshland habitat in the Crane catchment is reed sweet-grass, but reed-mace and common reed can also be found. The reeded areas provide cover for birds, water voles and insects.

These area can be found around Hounslow Heath, Green Lane and Ickenham Marshes.
Grassland areas within the catchment are found in locations such as Crane Park, Feltham Marshalling Yards and Yeading Brook Meadows.

Lowland grasslands are a priority for nature conservation, due to their steep decline. Areas such as Feltham Marshalling Yards provide an area of dry herb-rich grassland that includes species such vipers bugloss, sainfoin, salad burnet and haresfoot clover.

The in-stream and riparian habitats of the river is typical of a lowland river. The water temperature is warm, slow flowing with moderate levels of dissolved oxygen. As a result the river support fish, aquatic invertebrates and plant life that can tolerate these parameters.

The riparian zone is very important area between the land and the river. The vegetation and root systems acts as a buffer zone against pollution, helps to dissipate stream energy (especially along meandering stretches) and is an important wildlife habitat, supporting small mammals such as water vole, birds such as kingfisher, and provides shelter for fish against predation.

For a more detailed explanation of the ecology within the catchment, please refer to the Catchment Plan document.