Project helps save the water voles

Endangered: Water voles
Endangered: Water voles

ENDANGERED water voles are now in safe hands thanks to a £100,000 grant to clean up their habitats.

The Living Went Project, which is run by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and funded by SITA Trust, will improve more than 20km of watercourses flowing through Featherstone and Pontefract to help save the furry water creatures from extinction.

The project – launched on Tuesday – has been specially designed to rescue the semi-aquatic rodent, which is one of Britain’s most endangered animals and on the verge of disappearing from the district’s waterways altogether.

Nick Simms, spokesman for the Wildlife Trust, said: “Our challenge is to re-naturalise and re-connect the river corridor so that wildlife can move around more easily.

“We’ll be planting up some areas, removing scrub from others, and even re-shaping the river in some places to kick start the natural behaviours that have been stifled for so long.”

The project will also look at issues such as bank erosion and how to combat the river getting choked up with soil and sludge, which can make extreme weather such as flooding and droughts even worse.

Mr Simms said: “We’ll be working with experts to design ways of moving these sediments about in a more natural way.

“We want people to be able to get away from having to turn up with a digger every three years and dig out the river, which can have disastrous effects on wildlife.”