Preventing water voles from becoming extinct

This project was hosted by Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust and it’s aim was to secure the future of water voles in the Colne Valley by providing optimal habitat around their current strongholds.

Baseline surveys carried out in the summer of 2019 confirmed that water voles were still present in their current strongholds. Evidence of water voles was also found in a previously unrecorded locations in the Colne Valley – which was a fantastic discovery!

We’ve been able to use this information to help guide where to target our habitat improvements – although water voles are present in more places than initially thought, their populations are small in many places, and fragmented from one another by often long stretches of unsuitable bankside habitat. The task now is to join these populations together by improving the habitat between them.

This will be and has been achieved through engaging with local landowners and managers who care for the Colne and its tributaries, and working with them to implement practical improvements for water voles. As well as habitat works, a network of mink monitoring rafts will be installed throughout the Colne Valley to protect water voles from this invasive predator.

So far a number of volunteers from both ends of the Colne Valley have been trained in water vole survey techniques and mink raft monitoring to date.

Preventing water voles from becoming extinct project – News and update

Water vole (c) Paul Thrush

Lydia Murphy Colne Valley Rivers & Wetlands Officer