The water vole suffered huge declines during the latter part of the 1900’s as a consequence of land management changes and in particular through predation by the introduction of non-native, highly efficient predator, the American mink. The water vole is now considered to be extinct in Cornwall, with few recent records in Devon and whilst Dorset and Somerset have more recorded sites the water vole remains a rare species. Water voles live in burrows in the banks of slow-flowing rivers, streams, canals, ditches and sometimes ponds. They favour steep banks with dense grass, reed and rush vegetation which provides food and shelter from predators.
Water Vole Surveys
Water voles are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). If a proposed development is likely to affect water voles or their habitat, the most favourable option would be to modify the scheme design so that water vole habitat can be maintained and damage and disturbance is avoided. If this is not possible, and water voles or their habitat are to be affected, a water vole survey is carried out and following a confirmed pressence a licence will be required from Natural England. Where destruction of habitat is unavoidable, mitigation is likely to include the exclusion of the animals from the development area, with habitat creation and restoration requirements. Water vole surveys are seasonally constrained to the breeding period (March to
August) when they are marking their territories with latrines. Latrine densities can be used to measure the population density of water voles along a watercourse.
Green Ecology have highly experienced ecologists with specialisms in wetland ecology and extensive experience of water voles. We can provide the following services:
- Habitat assessment
- Water vole survey
- Legislation & policy advice
- Licence applications
- Habitat creation and restoration
- Exclusion and relocation of water voles
- Assessment and monitoring of American mink (Game Conservancy Trust raft survey)
For more information about water voles and how we can deliver timely and cost effective solutions to your project please get in touch.