It is likely that the water vole will become extremely rare in areas colonised by American mink; the elimination of American mink is unrealistic, but numbers can be controlled in key areas in an attempt to ease the pressure on the water vole. Habitat enhancement such as the encouragement of a broad variety of waterside vegetation and recreation of natural features such as water meadows and oxbow lakes could benefit the species. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to disturb, obstruct or damage water vole burrows. A booklet has been produced by English Nature, providing guidance on the water vole for planners and developers (8). Research into the ecology and habitat needs of this species is essential, as little work has been carried out on it due to its previously common status (3).
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