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
Many volunteer days have been set up with local volunteers, Affinity and Thames water as well as staff from the Chilterns Conservation Board and Chiltern Society to restore the River Chess at Latimer to a more natrual chalk stream as well as creating a better habitat for the water voles. We hope when we survey this site next year, we will find a higher population of water voles along the whole river bank!