21st January 2020

It is sad to think that the once prevalent water vole could disappear from our water courses altogether in the future, if current rates of decline in numbers continue. The water vole is an important part of our wildlife heritage and it is now the UK’s most rapidly declining mammal.

By the end of the 1990s we had lost more than 90% of our nation’s water voles *source  – People’s trust for endangered species October 2019.

 Gavin Bennett who works on the water vole project on behalf of HMWT, tells us why this important project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery fund and The Colne Valley Regional Park Additional Mitigation Fund.

They wate voles are very important for all wetland wildlife, as they are at the bottom of the food chain and therefore support many other species in turn. Water voles are one of nature’s engineers and a vital part of river ecosystems and biodiversity. Their burrowing, feeding and movements help to sculpt our riverbanks and can create conditions for other animals and plants to thrive. They are under serious threat due to habitat loss, water abstraction and predation by the non-native American mink. We have been working to try and reduce their decline and together with the partners and landowners we hope to enhance river corridors, expand surveying for water voles, and establish new mink monitoring schemes.

The good news is water vole surveys during 2019 over 34km of water ways have found evidence of the voles in previous unrecorded areas.”

Please follow our website www.colnevalleypark.org.uk if you would like to read more about this and our other projects, which help local wildlife.

Gavin Bennett Colne Valley Rivers & Wetlands Officer

Volunteers removing a non-native invasive species (Himalayan Balsam), which destroy the water voles habitats in the winter.