Water Vole conservation and management:lessons from four case studies


Water voles Arvicola amphibious have seen a significant decline in numbers and distribution across England and Wales since the 1960s, a situation that continues to the present day. As a consequence they were adopted as one of the original UK BAP species, with the most recent targets being to halt their decline and subsequently to increase their range and numbers. With a view to contributing to these objectives, this research project was conceived in 2004, with the aim of determining the effectiveness of habitat creation and enhancement design methods for promoting the conservation and expansion of water vole populations both at colony and metapopulation levels. Subsequently Landfill Tax Credit Scheme funding was sought and won for a two year period, which provided seed money for the project. Four research sites were identified and baseline surveys undertaken. From this initial work, relevant programmes were established for each of the sites, which included as appropriate: habitat enhancement and creation; water vole release and introduction; and mitigation for loss due to development of a commercial park. Following the implementation of these programmes during 2011 and 2012, each site was monitored both with regard to the maintenance of habitat suitability and the water vole population. The conclusions from this research following, on average, two years of post works monitoring, were that through employing appropriate design procedures, water vole habitat creation and enhancement schemes were viable, but required long term management plans to be put in place and implemented. The field studies at three of the sites have contributed towards the understanding of vole metapopulation dynamics and a system was developed for classifying habitat suitability for water voles.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.48780/publications.aston.ac.uk.00030446
Divisions: Aston University (General)
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arvicola amphibious,habitat enhancement and creation,metapopulation dynamics,mink control,water vole introduction
Completed Date: 2017-03-14
Authors: Gaskin, Jemma

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