Spalding: Otters Thrown Real-life Life-line

15 September 2013, 06:00

Otter Life-line Refuge Environment

The Environment Agency has installed eight specially-designed landing points for the animals along a 800-metre section of the river in Spalding.

The move follows an incident last summer in which a young otter cub was seen struggling to hang onto a chain link fence in a bid to get out of the channel, which is sheet-piled on both sides.

Nikki Loveday, of the Environment Agency's Fisheries and Biodiversity Team told Heart: "The otters were hanging onto the fence that is attached to the piling in an attempt to climb into a highways outfall pipe some 1.5 metres above the water. Luckily, our operations guys heard one of the otters crying and lowered a pallet into the water for the otters to climb onto. After regaining their strength, the otters got back into the water and swam off."

As a result of the incident - the first time otters had been spotted on the section of the Welland through the centre of Spalding - permanent refuge platforms have now been installed.

The refuge platforms are made up of one-metre square plastic pontoons which can be filled with ballast to determine how high or low they sit in the water. The pontoons, which were installed earlier this month, have been fixed to the existing sheet piles to allow otters to climb out of the water to rest.

Nikki added: "The presence of otters is a sign that water quality in this section of the River Welland has improved. The new pontoons will make sure that otters are able to find somewhere to rest along this section of the river and will hopefully reduce the risk of incidents like the one we saw last summer which could have caused the otter cub to drown happening again."