The purpose of the course is to provide the knowledge, skills and experience required to survey for water voles in a professional capacity.
First Ecology will ensure that trainees are able to competently survey for water voles via attainment of criteria recognised by CIEEM.
a. conservation status;
c. threats to water vole populations, species range and species survival;
d. water vole ecology, breeding biology and behaviour;
e. mink ecology, breeding biology, behaviour and distribution;
f. basic freshwater ecology;
g. known ecological requirements (including landscape requirements of water vole meta-populations);
h. legal protection;
i. licensing and permissions;
j. appropriate survey season and conditions;
k. current relevant guidance on survey methods and standards;
l. main survey methods used to survey for water voles (including visual surveys (from bank, wading or using a boat) for latrines, feeding stations, burrows and footprints and including trapping and marking/tagging) and the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of these methods;
m. safety and welfare issues involved in live trapping and handling and marking of wild animals (including Home Office Licensing if required);
n. range of factors that might lead to bias in the survey results, and false negatives (e.g. lack of field signs after rain);
o. identification issues with water voles and other small rodents (e.g. field voles, bank voles and brown rats); p. sources of information on known occurrence and distribution of water voles (including NBN Gateway, national surveys, local biological/environmental records and local contacts/species groups);
q. metadata standards / data sharing; and
r. health and safety issues commonly associated with surveying for water voles (including Weil’s disease and risks of handling biological material by water).