Water vole surveys

Water Vole Surveys

Surveys for water vole are an essential part of the environmental assessment required prior to any work that may affect a riparian habitat. Threats to water vole include; habitat loss and degradation, population fragmentation, fluctuations in water levels, predation, pollution, persecution and rats. As with many mammals, the sighting of a water vole is not always possible, and as such, water vole surveys are usually based on field signs which include;

  • Faeces & latrines
  • Feeding stations
  • Burrows
  • Lawns
  • Nests
  • Footprints and runways in vegetation.

As the water vole is a protected species, all developments involving riparian habitats should have an environmental assessment to check for the presence or absence of this species. A combination of field survey and desktop study searches should be undertaken and, if water vole are present, appropriate mitigation/enhancement/management schemes should be implemented.

Ecology Services Ltd. also undertake water vole mitigation works. We recently designed a water vole mitigation scheme for a marina development in the northwest. We liaised with the Environment Agency, County Council and British Waterways, when designing the mitigation works, to ensure that the population of water vole remained stable at the site. The mitigation works included clearance and exclusion works, habitat enhancement, habitat creation and monitoring.

Photo: Water vole (Arvicola amphibius). © Simon Booth Photography


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