THE wettest winter since records began could have damaged dragonfly and damselfly populations in Halesowen and across Dudley borough for years to come.

The Canal and River Trust made the dire warning as it asked people to help monitor the insects as part of the Great Nature Watch, which launched this week.

Paul Wilkinson, ecologist for the Canal and River Trust, said: “Dragonflies, and their sister damselflies, flourish in clean water making them a fantastic indicator of the health of a canal or river.

“While this year’s floods and fast river flows have had an obvious impact on larger animals, such as birds and fish, we are also particularly concerned with the impact on invertebrates such as dragonflies, which form the foundation stones of a healthy water environment.

“Whilst fast flowing rivers may see a drop in the numbers of dragonflies emerging this Spring, the Midlands’s slowing moving canal network could provide a welcome haven. 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 region’s canals and rivers over the coming years.”

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

Records can be submitted by downloading the Trust’s free mobile app (search for Canal & River Trust) or online at