Cash boost for Otter project




Durham Biodiversity Partnership has received a £141.323 funding boost from SITA Trust to carry out a three year project to consolidate the existing populations of Otter by improving habitat along watercourses in Gateshead, Darlington, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

SITA Trust provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund.  Funding is available for community and environmental groups to carry out a range of improvement projects.

The funding will enable a range of work to be carried out including creation of new habitats. Pic Keith Cunningham

The funding will enable a range of work to be carried out including creation of new habitats. Pic Keith Cunningham

The funding allocated to the Durham Biodiversity Partnership will enable a range of work to be carried out including creation of new habitats such as reedbed, improvements to links between rivers and adjacent breeding sites, underpasses and mammal ledges to reduce road fatalities and volunteer surveys to monitor progress.

Shonah Dobson, of the Durham Biodiversity Partnership, said “It really is fantastic to see Otters naturally returning to our rivers and we aim to give them a helping hand.  We have been very lucky to have been able to work with Local Authority ecologists, as well as other local experts to come up with the most suitable locations for Otter habitat creation.”

Local contractors will be carrying out some of the works, while much of the work will be done by volunteers coordinated by the Otter Project Officer.

Some works are lined up to be carried out by David Peace of the Wildlife Trust’s Wildplaces project with the help of Durham University Conservation Group volunteers.

Several partners are involved in the project including Gateshead Council, Darlington Borough Council, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland City Council and Northumbrian Water.

The work is being carried out against the backdrop of the animal’s troubled recent history nationally. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, otters underwent a sudden and catastrophic decline throughout much of Britain and Europe.

The cause was probably the combined effects of pollution and habitat destruction, particularly the drainage of wet areas.

Have you seen an otter?

The project will be monitoring the success of the new habitat features and trying to establish whether the numbers of Otters is increasing.

The project hopes to three year project to consolidate the existing populations of Otter. Pic Keith Cunningham

The project hopes to three year project to consolidate the existing populations of Otter. Pic Keith Cunningham

To help increase our knowledge of Otter distribution in the area, the partners would like to know if you see any Otters.

If you do see an Otter, or find evidence that an Otter has been present, please contact us at:

Durham Biodiversity Partnership,
c/o Durham Wildlife Trust,
Rainton Meadows,
Houghton – le – Spring,
DH4 6PU
Tel: 01915843112

If you would like to know more about the Durham Biodiversity Partnership Otter Project, please contact the Otter Project officer on 0191 5843112 or e-mail info@durhambiodiversity.org.uk.

Information about the Otter project can also be found on our website at www.durhambiodiversity.org.uk.

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