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Building a safer future for water voles - People's Trust for ...

Building a safer future for water voles - People's Trust for ...

urgent appealcatastrophe

urgent appealcatastrophe strikes, such as majorflooding, water voles are able torecover their numbers without anyadditional mink control.Habitat restorationBuilding on this, Jenny and Paulidentified 17 lowland priority sites forwater vole conservation and workedwith the adjacent landowners to makesure they understood the necessity tomanage the area carefully to maintainits water vole friendly nature. As timehas gone on there has been majorhabitat restoration around the sitesand regular water vole monitoringwhich has shown that these naturalsanctuaries are proving very goodat maintaining viable water volepopulations within them.As the project matured, the focusshifted to extending the number of keysites to over 20 and rolling out habitatrestoration around them, exploringthe value of further types of habitatas refuges from mink to see if thereare other places that would also havenatural protection, and assessingthe impact on water voles of theagricultural Environmental Stewardshipschemes in England and Wales.The results are encouraging andrewarding. Twenty four priority siteshave been created with surroundinghabitat restoration and managementwell established.The high ground?One supposition was that uplandareas might also offer sustainedrefuges for water voles so the projectteam undertook careful surveys of sixupland areas in England and Wales toinvestigate. It seems that high grounddoes indeed offer some advantage,and ongoing monitoring across all thedesignated sites has shown that, bothacross and within them, water volepopulations are stable, even thoughthere is known to be at least somemink presence at or around about halfof them. Analysis of the mink diet atone reed bed site showed that watervoles only constituted a very smallproportion of what they were eating. Sothe natural habitat is really working tokeep mink at bay without intervention.PTES was able to use the funds raisedfor this work from our supportersto lever more funding from theEnvironment Agency, Natural Englandand the Countryside Council for Wales.This is important because not onlyhave we been able to attract morefunding to the project than we mighthave been able to afford alone, we cannow channel the results directly to keypeople who need them. Staff at theagencies who assess water vole siteswill be able to use the data to advise ondevelopment plans. Farmers and otherlandowners can use the knowledgeto inform their land managementdecisions. And Wildlife Trusts andother groups working to protectwater voles locally will be able to doso knowing that their work will reallymake a significant long term difference.Together with the project team we areplanning a series of practical advicenotes specially targeted at thesegroups.Laurie Campbell

Where are our voles?As conservation groups have stepped up their action onwater voles - protecting local sites, moving populations facingthreats from development and reintroducing them to someareas - there is increasing data being collected on water volewhereabouts. However, until now, there has been no centralrepository for all this information and no systematic way ofexamining it all, hence its use has been limited.Together with the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, theEnvironment Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage, PTEShas been funding another project to establish and maintaina national water vole database that brings together all theinformation on water voles and mink presence.Water vole fact fileWater voles, the largest of the British voles, have glossybrown fur and a blunt muzzle with small, black eyes.Their ears are rounded and almost hidden in their furand their tail is dark and slightly furry. Water voles aremostly active during the day.Breeding Water voles usually breed after their firstwinter. Females give birth to two to eight blind, nakedyoung in each litter and the female can have up to fivelitters per year, between March & October.Diet Grasses, sedges, rushes, watercress in spring andsummer and roots, tree bark and fruit in autumn andwinter.Habitat Grassy banks along slow moving rivers, lakes,ponds and marshland. They dig burrows in steepgrassy banks, which often include hidden, underwaterentrances.Predators & threats Mink, owls, stoats, herons, pike andcats.Status & distribution Water voles are found throughoutEngland, Wales and Scotland but not in Ireland,although their distribution is now patchy everywhere.They are absent from most islands except Anglesey andthe Isle of Wight (and some of the small islands betweenJura and the Scottish mainland).Ratty with Mole from Wind in the Willows#correspondence, please tick this boxIf you would prefer not to receive raffle tickets infuture mailngs, please tick herecharities to write to you. If you would prefer not to receive thisWe can sometimes raise extra funds by occasionally allowing otherSignature(s) DateFor a direct debit form, please tick here£1 you give).CSV number (last 3digits on signature strip)equal the amount PTES will claim (currently 28p for eachincome tax or capital gains tax in the year will at leastExpiry date Valid fromIssue no.(Maestro only)declarations. I confirm that the amount I have paid inthis declaration until I notify you otherwise as Gift AidCard no.tax years, and all donations I make from the date ofPTES to treat all donations I have made in the last 6Maestro Visa MasterCard CAF Card*By ticking the box I confirm I am a taxpayer and I wantPlease debit my credit card with my gift of ££12 £25 £50 Other £If you would prefer to make a credit or debit card donation pleasecomplete your details below:Please find enclosed my donation of:Please make your cheques/postal orders payable to: PTESIf you pay UK tax, then we can reclaim tax onall your donations made* (28p for every £1donated). Simply tick the box below confirmingyou are a UK taxpayer, it doesn’t cost you apenny extra.YES I would like to help water voles04/10

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