Tuesday, 8 July 2008

What water voles need from councils, gardeners and landowners

North Shropshire District Council are pretty vole-savvy, on the whole, but even so, they can sometimes be too enthusiatic with their bank strimming (top photo). Water voles need plenty of cover leaving, especially in an area like Edward German Drive which is full of cats. Where a water course is overshadowed by trees (middle pic) the banks become bare, so that's another area which becomes no-go for water voles. The bottom photo shows perfect, vole-friendly manangement of banks - plenty of long grass, and no rubbish or pesticides - and that's where I found burrows and a latrine this evening.
Post Script: NSDC say in the comment below that this strimming isn't their work. I'm therefore trying to find out who it might have been, so I can ask them to leave a slightly bigger margin next time.


Ben said...

Hi Kate.
A contractor cuts the land at Edward German Drive for us and they have an instruction to leave at least a 2 meter strip by the brook to provide cover for the water voles. I have just spoken to the contractor and he assures me they are complying with this and that they have not done any strimming by the brook this year. The brook is now defined as a "Critical Ordinary Water Course" and the flows are maintained by the Environment Agency, particularly to control flood risks. It might be that they have strimmed this bank. I have been unable, as yet, to establish if this is the case.
Tim Sneddon for NSDC.

Kate said...

Thanks for this! I'll ask my contact at the EA if she knows anything about it.