Loutre BeLu 2005-2006 - Restoration of European otter habitats, Belgium & Luxembourg
In order to safeguard the existing otter population and encourage recolonisation, the project restores the otter habitat in a cross-border area between Belgium and Luxembourg, including the river basins of Our, SÃ»re & Ourthe (appr.300,000 ha). In order to provide long-term protection & appropriate conservation management for key sites, 50 ha are purchased & management agreements with landowners are put in place. A narrow strip of land along the stream & river banks is restored to a natural state. This involves planting deciduous species and installing fencing to protect the banks from cattle, as well as installing watering troughs to allow them access to water. In order to make habitats in the valleys more favourable to otters, conifer plantations along the river valley bottoms are cut & either replaced by mixed deciduous trees or left open. Various actions are carried out to increase the natural supply of fishes. The involvement, awareness & approval of numerous local stakeholders are of vital importance. Thus, wide communication efforts are made with specific actions toward different target groups.