Cardowan in the east end of Glasgow is home to a unique population of water voles Arvicola amphibius.
Discovered in 2008, the animals are described as fossorial, meaning they live mainly underground in their own burrow systems in terrestrial habitats well away from water rather than in more typical semi-aquatic riparian habitats next to water. The known Glaswegian populations of fossorial water voles make use of rough grassland habitat in public parks, on derelict land and along motorway verges – a behaviour that is known to be widespread in Europe but is rarely encountered in the UK.
Fossorial water voles living in three public parks in Cardowan were at risk from flood attenuation infrastructure construction associated with wider urban regeneration in the local area. Working on behalf of the construction contractors under the auspices of a Scottish Natural Heritage (as was) water vole mitigation licence, Applied Ecology surveyed, captured and successfully relocated over 150 water voles to receptor sites in the local area that were agreed between Applied Ecology, Glasgow Council and experts from the University of Glasgow.