Essex supports a staggering variety of habitats and species linked by a common thread – water. It is the fundamental building block of life, but something which we often take for granted. In Essex, the shocking manifestation of this neglect was rivers so polluted with industrial and agricultural chemicals that only three decades ago, they could not support otters.
Thankfully times have changed and the Essex Water for Wildlife Project is part of a partnership of The Wildlife Trusts, Environment Agency, Water Companies and other local partners, dedicated to providing a consistent, targeted approach to all types of wetland conservation.
One of the main aims of the project in Essex is to bring Water Voles back to our streams and rivers after twenty years of decline. Since work began on the Essex Water Vole Recovery Project in 2007, voles have been reintroduced to the River Colne and habitat improvements and targetted mink removal has resulted in natural re-colonisation across over 500km2 of North East Essex.
RIVERSEARCH was also set up in 2007 and has trained more than 250 volunteer surveyors to search for Otters, Water Voles, Water Shrews and Harvest Mice. Courses are held throughout the year and are open to everyone, regardless of previous experience or knowledge.