Chichester Canal is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI).
Since its abandonment in 1906 it has been relatively undisturbed and has acquired a rich wildlife associated with its mosaic of open water, marginal vegetation, banks and bordering hedgerows. Further information on the history of the Canal is available on the Chichester Canal website.
The canal forms an important aquatic and terrestrial wildlife corridor. It links areas of semi-natural habitat between Chichester Harbour and local gravel pits.
Some sections of the canal, particularly between Donnington and Birdham Road, have well developed reedbeds of Common Reed (Phragmites australis), a scarce type of habitat in the county and particularly important for some species of birds.
The canal has a well-established Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris) population, dependent on diverse layered bank side vegetation and permeable earth banks with areas that are undisturbed. The animal and its habitat are protected by law. Water Shrew, bats and a good number of dragonfly species have also been recorded.