We need to know where water voles still thrive

Water vole swimming┬ęTom Marshall

Surveying the distribution of water voles is essential to securing their survival.

National initiative to map water voles

The National Water Vole Database and Mapping Project was established in January 2008 with the aim of collating and mapping available water vole data to:

  • Assess population and distribution trends;
  • Create a geographic information system (GIS) for water voles to support conservation measures and enable more strategic working at local, regional and national levels; and,
  • Report against national biodiversity action plan (BAP) targets.

Our new report which analyses ten years' worth of data highlights a 30% decline in water vole distribution - read it here.

The project has collected water vole and mink data every year from volunteers, Local Environmental Records Centres (LERCs), the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) and other suppliers in England, Wales and Scotland.

Data is ‘cleaned’ and analysed using a methodology devised by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) to produce three tiers of mapping: alert, local key areas, and regional key areas. The aim of the alert and key areas maps is to identify the areas known to support water vole populations.

A project report has been produced each year since 2009, using records from the previous five years (from the 1st January of the first year to the 31st December of the fourth year e.g. 1st January 2007 to 31st December 2011). The latest report which analyses ten years' worth of data from 2006 to 2015 highlights a 30% decline in water vole distribution. It can be read here.

Take part in the PTES National Watervole Monitoring Programme!


FilenameFile size
water_vole_report_2006-2015_final.pdf5.61 MB
water_vole_report_maps_part_2_2006-2015.pdf19.08 MB