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Rivers, Streams and Ponds

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The River Thames circles Cookham to the north, east and west, and connecting streams provide rich wildlife habitats.  We undertake survey work to assess the quality of these waterways and identify ways to improve their wildlife-support capacity.  We are also working with South East Water and South East Rivers Trust in a project to improve habitats along our waterways.

There are also ponds scattered across the community, many in our gardens.   These areas are a home to many plant species, some of them very rare. 

One of WildCookham’s major projects is the reintroduction of water voles to the area. They have a special local connection as Cookham was the home of Kenneth Grahame, who wrote the story ’Wind in the Willows’ in which Ratty, in fact a water vole, plays a prominent role. 

 

Water voles, on the list of Endangered Species and protected by law, were common along the Thames until the 1990s when a mixture of habitat loss and the American Mink predator, a mammal introduced some decades earlier to the UK, resulted in their disappearance. Their decline was rapid and the number of sites where voles were recorded declined by 94% during the 1990s.

 

Given the importance of wetlands and their role in our natural inventory, we are keen to extend our study of the habitat.  WildCookham undertakes surveys of local Otter, American Mink and Water Voles.  We also work with regional and national schemes for Water Vole recovery, using ‘smart’ rafts to capture the Mink without endangering other species.

 

All of this work is possible thanks to a team of volunteers .  But all members of the public can play their part by reporting any sightings of Water Vole and Mink by contacting wildcookham@gmail.com or reporting it on our Facebook page.

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