The Monnow Rivers Association together with the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB) has cause to celebrate the fact that it has received a funding boost to implement its ‘Water Voles on the Wye’ project.
The launch, to raise awareness of the project and relevant issues and to provide information about it, took place on Monday August 12 at Bridges Community Centre, Monmouth. After a presentation by Alastair Driver, National Conservation Manager, Environment Agency, a short walk to the River Monnow was laid on where the activities of the project were demonstrated by Rob Denny,Projects Officer of the Monnow Rivers Association. The project, funded by £48,000 from SITA Trust, hopes to expand the range and extent of water voles on the Rivers Wye and Monnow. The Water Vole, is the UK’s fastest declining mammal, having disappeared from 97% of its former range due to loss of habitat and predation by the American Mink.
By working closely with landowners and with support from local volunteers, the project will implement two years of mink control and habitat management works that will be delivered in partnership with the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Environment Agency and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Robert Denny commented ‘this project is an exciting opportunity to build on the successful work of the Monnow Rivers Association, protecting and expanding the Monnow’s existing water vole populations and to take an important step toward the recovery of this iconic species across two countries and three counties’
Marek Gordon CEO and Chairman of SITA Trust added “We are delighted to have been able to support this project thorough the Landfill Communities Fund. This important source of funding has been available since 1997 and has provided such worthy projects with more than £1.2 billion.”
The undoubted success of the Monnow Rivers Association’s work will give the voles a great chance to colonise whole new areas and make a welcome reappearance on the River Wye after a long absence.