Water Vole, Amy Lewis
Water Voles in the White Peak
Water voles are found in several rivers, streams and other wetlands in the White Peak. Habitat quality is good overall, but the conditions of some river and stream corridors are not so good, and development has increased the fragmentation of water vole populations.
Fluctuating water levels pose a threat to these water voles; low levels in summer leave them vulnerable to land-based predators, and high water levels in winter destroy water vole habitat and causes water voles to drown. American mink pose the most serious threat to the future of water voles in the area. We are committed to protecting remaining water voles in the White Peak by working with landowners and land managers to manage sites for water voles and to reduce the impacts of mink predation.
One of our project volunteers has been monitoring the water voles along the River Wye at Chee Dale over a period of several years and his survey results show that, although water voles have been present during most of the visits, the population is small.
Water Voles in the Dark Peak
The Dark Peak moorlands support regionally important populations of water voles. Living along tiny headstreams, these upland water vole populations are naturally fragmented. Flooding can have a devastating impact on water vole habitat in these river systems. We are working with landowners such as United Utilities to create wetland areas that are less likely to be impacted by flooding. Annual monitoring of water vole populations in these areas has demonstrated the impact of flooding and mink predation at some sites.
Water Voles of the Henmore Brook system
The Henmore Brook system and sites at nearby Carsington Water represent one of the few remaining areas that supports water voles in the Dove catchment. We are working with Severn Trent Water, the Environment Agency, local volunteers and the local angling club to protect these important populations. We are aiming to ensure that development and flood alleviation works in the Ashbourne area protect water voles and their habitat. At Carsington Water we are working with Severn Trent Water to monitor populations and extend the area of suitable water voles habitat.