Biodiversity action in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs

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Water voles' comeback in Loch Ard Forest

The water vole, known to many of us as Ratty in The Wind In The Willows, has been under threat in recent years in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs - mainly due to the presence of mink.

Now a project to re-colonise areas of the Loch Ard Forest has seen the species successfully re-colonise seven out of eight sites where they were re-introduced.

The project saw 960 water voles released in the spring and summer of 2008, 2009 and 2010. More than 50 more were released in spring/summer 2011.

A 2010 survey found that:

  • Seven out of eight of the 2008-2009 release sites have been colonised
  • Water voles have established a colony near the eighth site
  • Trapped and tested water voles were found to be healthy (in good body condition)

In addition, the scheme has:

  • Identified potential new release sites
  • Recorded signs of otter and mink to help target mink control

The scheme has been undertaken with the help of the Forestry Commission, the National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage.

School children help save rare Ice Age fish

School children in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs have helped boost the population of one of Britain's rarest native fish, the powan.

A 'relict species' from the last Ice Age, the powan is found in only two Scottish lochs – Loch Lomond and Loch Eck – both in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

These fish populations were coming under increased pressure so the Loch Lomond Fisheries Trust set up a project with local primary schools which saw school children rear powans in their classrooms (in a hatchery) then release them into the wild:

  • In March 2010 pupils released 400 young powan fish which they had reared in their classrooms into Loch Lomond
  • The children learned about the rare fish species and freshwater ecology of Loch Lomond

Plans to create largest native woodland in Scotland

The largest broadleaved woodland in Scotland is being created in The Great Trossachs Forest - one of the most significant woodland regeneration schemes in the UK.

It covers a 166km square area roughly the size of Glasgow, from Loch Lomond in the west to Callandar in the east.

The project is being run by the Scottish Forest Alliance (the Forestry Commission, the Woodland Trust, the RSPB and BP).

The scheme's aim is to:

  1. Create the largest broadleaved woodland in Scotland
  2. Plant around 4,400 hectares of new or regenerated woodland

So far 220 hectares of new native woodland has been planted at Loch Katrine and a further 200 hectares created during the winter of 2010-2011.