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Water vole surveys

Water vole surveys
Water Vole SurveySurveys can be undertaken to determine presence/absence or estimate population sizes of water voles on your farm. If water voles are present on your land, repeat surveys would be undertaken every 2 – 3 years. This is a standard practice for all positive sites and would provide valuable data. However, if you do not want the survey to be repeated, please let the Ecologist working on your land know.

Surveys are undertaken between April and October. Surveys are not undertaken between October and March, as water voles will not be breeding, and therefore leave less evidence and field signs.

A survey would involve searching one bank of each watercourse for field signs. In general, each waterbody on a site is surveyed such as ditches, ponds, lakes and streams. If a river is being surveyed, this would involve covering a distance of 500 m as a minimum. Adjacent ditches to the river would also be surveyed.
The main field signs that are looked for are feeding piles, latrines and burrows. Latrines are droppings left to mark territory boundaries and active burrows during the breeding season (between April and October). Feeding piles are heaps of chewed vegetation which are left in favoured places.

You would be notified a few days before the survey is due to take place. However, this is very dependant on the weather as surveys cannot be undertaken in wet conditions. This is due to the fact that ditch/river banks become very slippery and field signs are often washed away. Therefore, the survey dates may be subject to change at short notice.

If you would like a copy of your survey proposal, please do not hesitate to contact the Ecologist working on your land.

You will receive a report with details of survey findings at the end of the survey. This is usually within 3 weeks after completion of the survey. Survey data is provided to Sussex Biological Records Centre. However, if you would like your survey data to be kept confidential, please let the Ecologist know.

Due to the Data Protection Act, your personal details will not be passed on to other bodies such as local conservation organisations. In addition, your survey data or survey report will not be discussed with third parties.

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