EMBRYONIC plans for the creation of an ‘otter park’ along a stretch of the River Weaver linking Northwich and Winsford have been floated.
It is hoped the Weaver Otter Park project will encourage the iconic animal, which can only flourish in a high-quality water environment, to naturally breed and make their homes in Mid Cheshire.
The proposals to increase otter habitats along the river has been endorsed and supported by a ‘task group’, set up by the Weaver Valley Management Board.
The scheme is the brainchild of task group coordinator Steve Clarke, who told The Chronicle the proposals are “at the moment only an aspiration”.
The reorganisation of local government in Cheshire has created a temporary “hiatus” in the progression of the fledgling project, but the Weaver Valley board is expected to approach the Cheshire West and Chester, and Cheshire East councils over the coming weeks to discuss funding.
A survey conducted by the Environment Agency revealed the regular presence of “three, four or five” otters along the west bank of the section between the towns.
But the plan is to “make the area more hospitable for otters and for wildlife in general”.
Mr Clarke said: “It’s something that, when suggested, did get a lot of support.”
The project will also create new wetland habitats for fish breeding and a programme to create and manage existing woodland, and agencies including Cheshire Wildlife Trust and British Waterways will be consulted before an action plan is drawn up.
The initiative will be developed alongside the Weaver Way, which aims to improve access along the river for walkers and cyclists.