A Fenland Drainage Ditch Project was set up in September 2005 to provide conservation advice and support to the Middle Level Commissioners and 36 Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) in the Fenland area. Cliff Carson worked as project officer for a 1.5 year pilot phase and is now employed as Environmental Officer by the Middle Level Commissioners.
The project is supported by a Steering Group with representatives from the Biodiversity Partnership, Natural England, Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Boards, The Middle Level Commissioners and The Wildlife Trust.
With the help of a SITA trust grant and additional funding from the Biodiversity Partnership, 70 otter holts have been installed over the course of a three year project. The holts are fitted with infrared cameras and some of them show that the holts are getting used, see the following otter holt clips.
Cliff has carried out surveys focused on water voles and advised IDB district officers and machine operators on vole-friendly ditching methods. He influences the Middle Level’s conservation policy, raises the profile of wildlife associated with drainage ditches and promotes ecologically sympathetic ditch management to drainage engineers, IDBs and private landowners.