River Chess Restoration, Latimer
Creating and supporting a better habitat for water voles at Restore Hope, Latimer.
The River Chess supports the last population of water voles in the Chilterns. Surveys of the Chess have shown two populations in the area, one just downstream of the restoration site and the other just above it. The objective is to improve the area between so that the two groups can expand and ultimately inter-breed.
If we can support the growth of a larger water vole population with greater genetic diversity and an increased range, it will be far more resilient to external impacts from predators, pollution and climate change. By increasing the light levels reaching the channel we hope to encourage the growth of in-channel and marginal vegetation which will provide both populations with the immediate benefit of additional sources of food & shelter
We engaged with nearly 200 volunteers and installed 47 wood habitat features. This equates to 840 hours of work, approximately 120 FTE days.
Some of the headlines include:
- 130 hours of bank side tree work by 44 people. Some people came back for repeat visits.
- 700 hours of river restoration activity by 146 people, including four corporate teams. Some people came back for repeat visits.
- 47 channel features installed, including stabilisation of eight natural features.
- More than 12 new citizen scientists were trained in MoRPh and Riverfly Monitoring (ARMI) techniques for this restoration project and these have also been put to good use elsewhere.