Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s plans to bring beavers back to the Trent Valley have moved a step closer thanks to a £75,000 grant from Biffa Award and a £65,000 contribution from Severn Trent.
In more good news, Natural England – the Government agency responsible for licensing the release and homing of the beavers - has reviewed and licensed the plans, and agreed that the Willington Area is large enough for two beaver families.
This means that the Trust can begin making the area ready and the reserve could be home for two families and their kits by the end of the year. The beavers will make positive environmental changes to the wetland and the way water flows through the area as a result of their eco-engineering activity, improving habitat for other wildlife and reducing the risk of local flooding.
The Trust announced their plans and appeal to bring beavers back to Derbyshire at the end of February and have been overjoyed at the reaction and pledges of support. The latest Biffa Award and Severn Trent grants form the foundation for the project as the Trust continues to raise additional funds to help put the final plans in place.
Matt Buckler, Head of Nature Recovery Networks at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said; “We’re overjoyed at the fantastic response we’ve had to our plans to bring beavers back to Willington Wetlands - these tremendous grants from Biffa Award and Severn Trent make the vision for this project a possibility.”
“We’re really looking forward to welcoming two beaver families, which will benefit and improve the wildlife habitat and nature recovery in the Trent Valley long term and bring an economic boost through eco-tourism.
Rachel Maidment, Grants Manager for Biffa Award said; “Beavers and their landscaping behaviour benefits both people and wildlife. We're thrilled at Biffa Award to be able to support such an exciting project that is going to transform Willington Wetlands in the Trent Valley."
Graham Osborn, Principle Ecologist for Severn Trent, said: “This is a fantastic project which we are proud to support. It’s clear reintroducing beavers to Willington Wetlands will bring many benefits, particularly reducing the risk of local flooding in the area. The natural environment plays a key role in capturing, cleaning and carrying water and we’re passionate about making sure it’s cared for and protected.”
The crowdfunder campaign phase 2 is open and donations continue to come in direct to the Trust, which has raised £39,000.
Beaver adoption packs are also available from the DWT online shop priced at £29.99, which include a soft toy, key ring, beaver booklet, book mark and an adoption certificate.
Over the next few weeks, the Trust will begin to install fencing at the reserve and continue to liaise with contacts in Scotland, vets and experts to ensure the beavers have the best possible start and can be properly cared for when they arrive in Derbyshire.