12. Water Vole Recovery Scheme

Aims: Control invasive non-native species; Involve people with their local waterbodies; Improve wildlife corridors

Water body: River Chess
Project description

An integrated mink control and habitat enhancment scheme to reverse the decline in the Chess water vole population.

In 2001 a water vole survey of the R. Chess was commissioned by the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project (CCSP). In 2003, following a series of sightings of mink along the Chess valley, a repeat survey was carried out by the CCSP and the Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). The results revealed that the water vole population had declined by 97%.  After careful consideration of the survey findings the CCSP, BBOWT Water Vole Recovery Project and the Environment Agency worked in partnership with local landowners to implement a strategic mink control and habitat enhancement scheme on the river.

This scheme successfully reversed the population decline, with water vole numbers returning to their 2001 numbers in 2011.  Biennial surveying of the river has taken place since 2001 and is now led by the River Chess Association.  To find out how to get involved use the contact details below. To read more about this highly successful project follow this link.

Project lead: River Chess Association
Project partners: Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, River Chess Association, BBOWT
Contact for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Project start: 2001

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting. From an original concept by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.