Why don’t ecologists hibernate?

We know that our waterway wildlife is one of the main reasons our canals and rivers are such a special place to visit. So, while most sensible mammals are snugly tucked up for the winter, our team of ecologists are out and about making sure our waterway wildlife continues to thrive.

Ecologist Tom King looks at reeds Rochdale Canal

Winter repair work

Some of the top places to spot our ecologists over the winter months are our winter repair sites. They can often be sighted lurking around our maintenance teams to make sure that our waterway wildlife is protected whenever we’re taking out a lock gate or repairing a canal bank.

They make sure everything is put back as it should be and, in many places, new and improved wildlife habitats are created. Bat boxes and soft banking for water voles are common enhancements.

Looking at hedges

If you spot someone staring into a hedge with a clipboard this winter then the chances are they’re one of our ecologists. We need to keep our towpaths clear so that you can walk along them with ease whenever you visit.

However, we don’t want to disturb wildlife when we do this. We carry out all of our hedge cutting in winter so that we don’t disturb nesting birds and our ecologists work closely with our vegetation teams to make sure our wildlife is protected while we’re working.

Plotting for spring and summer

During the winter months when our wildlife is all either tucked away or doing its best to hide in the sparse vegetation, our ecologists spend a good deal of their time planning the surveys they need to carry out.

Planning wildlife surveys for spring and summer enables us to find out where our rare and protected species are living. Once we have this information we can protect their habitats over the winter months when they are at their most vulnerable.

Last date edited: 2 February 2018