Water vole mitigation, Wallasea Island

The brief

During 2013, Thomson Ecology and Thomson Habitats worked together to assist the client, a multi-disciplinary civil engineering and building contractor, with water vole mitigation works on a 670ha wetland habitat creation scheme. The scheme will be Europe’s largest man-made nature reserve, using five million tonnes of excess spoil from Crossrail.

The works involved a combination of displacement methodology and traditional trapping methods. The water vole displacement exercise, undertaken across 3km length of ditches, is one of the largest ever undertaken within the UK.

What we did

  • Supplied and installed 250m of water vole fencing
  • Installed 24 earth coffer dams to block off ditches and facilitate the drain down
  • Drained down 8,990m of ditches for water vole displacement and trapping
  • Cleared 125,800m2 of vegetation within ditches and on the banks to facilitate the trapping and displacement
  • Destructively searched 8,990m of water vole ditches — and over 1000 burrows – through a combination of mechanical excavation and hand digging
  • Supplied and installed 30 custom water vole release pens within the receptor area.

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