The canal du Midi is managed by Voies Navigables de France, acting in behalf of the canal’s owner, the French State.
Voies Navigables de France (French Navigable Waterways Authority) is a public body founded in 1991 to manage, operate, upgrade and develop Europe’s largest network of navigable waterways, comprising 6,200 km of canals and controlled rivers, under the authority of the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Developpment and Energy.
“Plane tree canker stain”, or ceratocytis platani, is a microscopic fungus that attacks plane trees exclusively and kills them in a few years. The parasite enters trees through wounds, affecting healthy trees.
Canker stain, first identified in the Villedubert district (Aude Department), in 2006. It spreads through contact, wounds in the tree, and via the extremely entangled root system. Among the main carriers of the spores are boats tying up to trees, or manoeuvring or mooring outside the designated mooring areas.
There is no prospect of this happening at present. UNESCO’s procedure for declassifying a site is a lengthy, multi-step process.
Moreover, the French government and VNF are working with local bodies and experts to tackle the disease threatening this outstanding site.
The periodic (6-yearly) report to UNESCO, listing what has been done to maintain and improve the classified site, and to restore the trees that make this heritage site so unique, will be prepared in 2012.
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