News


New €10 million project to reward farmers for environmental enhancement in priority river catchments

Pearl Mussels Launch


Wetland Surveys Ireland, a Kerry based environmental consultancy together with a team of expert advisors, have been appointed to administer the 'Pearl Mussel Project', a new €10 million locally led scheme for farmers. The overall aim of the project is to reward farmers for improving the local environment with a view to ensuring the long term survival of freshwater pearl mussels in Ireland. The scheme will be open to farmers across eight priority catchments in counties Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, and Donegal.

Freshwater pearl mussels are a large species of mussel that occur in very clean streams, rivers, and occasionally lakes. They are Ireland’s longest-living animal with lifespans of over 120 years being recorded. Despite large numbers remaining in some rivers, they have declined dramatically in the last century and are currently on the verge of extinction due to the fact that no young mussels are surviving to adulthood in many rivers. The eight priority rivers in the scheme are known to support the largest remaining populations of the legally protected mussel in Ireland.

The Pearl Mussel Project will work closely with local farmers in each area providing them with an opportunity to be recognized and financially rewarded for delivering environmental benefits. Dr Patrick Crushell, Project Manager, stated “We aim to develop a scheme that is attractive to farmers by rewarding them for improving the local environment. Enhancing farmland habitats within the catchments will have a positive influence on the river and in turn the endangered freshwater pearl mussel, which is a key species that indicates a very clean and healthy environment of great benefit to wider society. It is right that farmers should be adequately rewarded for providing this important and valuable product”.

The scheme is currently being designed by the project team with input from farmers, advisors, and researchers. Consultation meetings with farmers in each local area will be held later in the year to inform them of the project and to gain an understanding of their views, concerns, and hopes for the scheme.

Further information is available on the recently launched project website (PearlMusselProject.ie) where maps can be viewed to check eligibility and there is also a facility to register interest. The Pearl Mussel Project is an EIP (European Innovation Partnership) locally led scheme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as part of Ireland's Rural Development Programme 2014-20.

ENDS

Relevant maps and photos available on request.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIP-agr

Freshwater Pearl Mussel survey training

Staff from Wetland Surveys Ireland and members of the Pearl Mussel Project team undertook a day long training workshop on survey techniques for freshwater pearl mussel in the Kerry Blackwater catchment yesterday. The course was presented by Dr. Evelyn Moorkens with assistance from Kerry LIFE project staff, and included wading and snorkeling techniques, use of bathoscope for counting mussels, working with the bank manager who records counts and health and safety issues. All of the team passed the course and obtained their survey licences. 

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#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers

Pearl Mussel Project meeting

Wetland Surveys Ireland hosted the first Pearl Mussel Project meeting of the project in Kenmare in June. During the day long meeting the project team team and project special advisors heard a series of excellent presentations given on the Pearl Mussel Project plans (Patrick Crushell), the biology and threats to pearl mussel (Evelyn Moorkens), farm plan guidelines (Derek McLoughlin) and lessons to be learned from the Kerry LIFE project (Richard O’Callaghan). 

PMP LOGO PNG

The indoor session was followed by a visit to one of the Kerry LIFE demonstration farms in the Kerry Blackwater catchment to see how farm plans have been successfully introduced on one of the farms in the scheme with the help of one of local farmers, Mr. Dan O'Sullivan.

Attendees included: PMP: Patrick Crushell (Project Manager), Derek McLoughlin (Project Scientist), Peter Foss (Publicity and Administrator), Mary Catherine Gallagher (Project Ecologist), Con Curtin (Agri Consultant to PMP), Brendan Kirwan (Project Ecologist, WSI), Daireann McDonnell (Project expert advisor). 

Kerry Life: Richard O'Callaghan (Project Manager), Paul Phelan (Project Scientist), Padraig Cronin (Farm Advisor).

The overriding message from the day for the future of Freshwater Pearl Mussel in Ireland was summed up by Dr. Evelyn Moorkens: 

Fix river flows - fix everything.

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35065590 835898406600616 7184035149971980288 n


#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers

Revised County Wexford Wetland Map

As part of project to map Ireland's wetlands – the Map of Irish Wetlands - has published a revised County Wexford wetland map. The new on-line map has been uploaded and can be viewed on the Google map platform through Foss Environmental Consulting and Wetland Surveys Ireland website

WX screen grab

 

A variety of additional wetland locations, site descriptions and photographic images for the wetlands in Wexford county are shown on the new map. 

Here are some facts about the revised Wexford Wetland Map:

The location of 321 known and potential wetland sites are shown in County Wexford. 

No wetland survey has been undertaken for the majority of these sites in County Wexford.

60 sites on the Wexford wetland map display a photograph of the wetland.

All wetland sites listed in Wexford display information on the wetland habitats that are known or likely to occur there.

57 wetland sites include a short description of the wetland interest on the site.


To explore the map and obtain further information on the Map of Irish Wetlands project check out this link

The Wetland Surveys Ireland Team hope you enjoy your tour of wetlands in Wexford !

Discovery of a newly formed Irish bog

Tullaher Main


A recent study carried out to determine the value of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones in undertaking habitat surveys of inaccessible wetland areas made an unexpected discovery. The traditional view of bog formation is that it occurs over a very long time frame of centuries or even millennia. The outcome of a recent survey by Wetland Surveys Ireland Ltd (WSI) suggests that a west of Ireland bog has evolved from an open water lake to an actively growing peat bog within the last 150 years.

Tullaher Lough in County Clare was the subject of the study undertaken by WSI on behalf of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). The lake and its fringing wetlands form part of a Special Area of Conservation designated under the EU Habitats Directive. Despite the recognised value of the wetland, the habitats have not been subject to any intensive investigation, due in part to their inaccessible nature.

Tullaher vertical

Interpretation of drone imagery collected during the winter 2017 survey clearly shows that bog vegetation has established in the area to the west of the lake. Bog Cotton and red bog moss (appear as bright red), Heather (dark brown), other Sphagnum mosses (bright green), and bushy lichens (patchy light grey) are all clearly visible (see opposite). An ecological walkover survey subsequently confirmed that the habitat throughout the area corresponds to acid bog, with a high water table, undulating topography, and a dominance of typical bog species.

A review of historic mapping reveals that this area of bog has established since the mid-nineteenth century when the open water of the lake extended westwards (see below). The lake shore at that time was to the west of the current bog area.

Tullaher comparison


A similar pattern of terrestrialisation and establishment of bog conditions over a comparable timeframe has previously been documented at Clara Bog, County Offaly in a PhD study undertaken by Patrick Crushell of WSI. Such rapid establishment of bog has also been reported by Dutch researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen.

Understanding the processes responsible for the development of bog habitat over a relatively short timeframe has important implications for bog restoration programmes and climate change mitigation. To this end, WSI intends furthering the research into this unique wetland area by supporting a research student to investigate the development history of the site in more detail.

Wetlands in County Dublin

As part of World Wetlands Day which this year celebrates Urban wetlands making cities liveable, the project to map Ireland's wetlands – the Map of Irish Wetlands - has published a revised Dublin city and county wetland map. The new on-line map has been uploaded and can be viewed on the Google map platform through the Wetland Surveys Ireland website. Some 67 of the wetlands shown are open to the public and have visitor access, so why not get out there and explore one of these great wetlands during World Wetlands Day

A variety of additional information, site descriptions and photographic images for the wetlands in Dublin city and county are shown on the new wetland map. 

Here are some facts about the new county Dublin Wetland Map:

  • The location of 173 wetland sites are shown in County Dublin.
  • Detailed wetland habitat surveys have been undertaken on 46 of these sites.
  • 119 of the sites include a lake or pond as the main wetland habitat present, making this the most frequent wetland habitat type to be found in County Dublin. The second most common habitat type is reedswamp which occurs on 77 sites.
  • 116 sites on the Dublin wetland map display a photograph of the wetland.
  • 136 wetland sites include a short description about the wetland interest on the site.
  • All wetland sites listed in Dublin display information on the wetland habitats that are known or likely to occur there.
  • 67 wetlands occur within parks or are accessible to the public are listed as such, while 22 other wetland sites occur in golf courses with private members access.


To explore the map and obtain further information on the Map of Irish Wetlands project during World Wetlands Day please check out this link.

During 2018 we hope to further refine and expand the information on wetlands displayed on the Map of Irish Wetlands, in County Dublin and throughout the rest of the country, and welcome information you might have on a site or a photograph for one of the wetlands shown on the map.  

The Wetland Surveys Ireland Team hope you enjoy your tour and visit to the wetland of your choice !

The online map is available to view on WetlandSurveysIreland.com  

Update of the Map of Irish Wetlands 2018

MIWJan2018PR

As part of the joint project to map Ireland's wetlands, with Foss Environmental Consulting, a revised Map of Irish Wetlands for the entire country has just been uploaded to the Google map platform. A variety of new data sources, site descriptions and photographic images for the wetlands shown has been included in the 2018 revised map. 

The location of 12,731 wetland sites are shown on the Map of Irish Wetlands, together with information on known and potential wetland habitats on these sites. 

4,065 wetland sites are now illustrated with site photographs.

3,753 wetland sites include a summary description based on surveys and reports.

Further background information on the Map of Irish Wetlands project can be found here

During 2018 we hope to further refine and expand the information on wetlands displayed on the Map of Irish Wetlands, and welcome your information and photographs for the wetlands shown on the map.  

Counties Longford & Roscommon Wetland Study 2017

The results of the Counties Longford & Roscommon Wetland Study 2017 have been published. The survey was commissioned by Longford and Roscommon County Councils and undertaken by ecologists from Wetland Surveys Ireland and Foss Environmental Consulting. The survey aimed to identify all wetland areas in the two counties to better inform land use planning and sustainable development strategies.

Wetlands can be defined as areas of land that are wet enough for long enough to support a variety of plants and animals that are specially adapted to wet conditions. These wetland areas in Longford and Roscommon include a range of wildlife habitats such as raised and cutover bogs, marshes, swamps, turloughs, wet woodlands, lakes and ponds.

By carrying out a review of digital maps and previous studies, and undertaking an aerial photographic and subsoil analysis of the two counties the Counties Longford & Roscommon Wetland Study identified thirty two wetland habitat types occurring in 676 individual sites in Roscommon and 281 sites in Longford. As part of the study of the two counties, information on these wetlands has been collated into wetland map dataset.

Preliminary site boundaries have been mapped for wetland sites identified during the study, providing an estimate of the extent of wetlands within these counties. The area of wetland sites mapped in Longford covered an area of 203 km2 (18.6% of land area) while wetland sites in Roscommon covered an area of 580 km2 (21.9% of land area).

The report highlights the absence of detailed information on many sites and the urgent need for targeted field surveys to gain a better understanding of the wetland resource within the county and to ensure that those sites of highest importance are protected.

The Counties Longford & Roscommon Wetland Study 2017 is an action of the County Longford & Roscommon Heritage and Biodiversity Plans. The reports is available from the Heritage Office in Longford and Roscommon County Councils.    

ArcGIS Helps Irish Surveyor Monitor Europe’s Last Remaining Peatlands

Wetland Surveys Ireland work was featured in the ESRI News for Water newsletter in the autumn 2017 issue, with an article on high accuracy (sub-metre) recording of spatial data on Irish raised bogs. 

Esri News for Water Fall 2017

You can read the full article here: http://www.esri.com/library/newsletters/water/fall-2017.pdf

Ireland’s Fabulous Fens

Fens ESRI Thumbnail main


At Wetland Surveys Ireland and Foss Environmental Consulting we have been surveying, studying and researching fen habitats throughout Ireland for over twenty years. We have recently developed a story map to share some of our fascination with these wonderful Irish wetlands. The map is a compilation of stunning images taken from Irish fens giving you an insight into this lesser known and rarely seen part of the Irish landscape.

Fens are a unique type of peatland that form an important part of the Irish landscape. They help regulate and clean our water supply, support a rich variety of wild plants and animals, and can even tell us about our past history. With so much in their favour, it is surprising that fens are one of the least studied and lesser known Irish habitats.

The story map brings you on an informative tour focusing on four main themes;

·      Background to fen habitats where you can learn of their origin, development, and ecology

·      Biodiversity value of fens and the various plant and animal species they support

·      The importance of conserving Irish Fens

·      Fen sites to visit in your locality many of which are open to the public with various facilities

Ireland’s Fabulous Fens story map was created by Dr Peter Foss as part of the Map of Irish Wetlands project. To learn more about Irish fens and see the spectacular images click on the following link:

http://bit.ly/IrishFens


Footnote:

Distribution map of fens in Ireland based on data help in the Map of Irish Wetlands.

All 1670 Irish Fens csml

 

Additional information on the abundance of the different known and potential fen types in Ireland based on data help within the Map of Irish Wetlands.

Fen type & Number of known and potential sites identified in the Map of Irish Wetlands:

  • Alkaline fen  659
  • Cladium fen  196
  • Transition Mire  541
  • Poor Fen  643
  • Calcareous springs  222
  • Non-Calcareous springs  45


(Note: a fen site can contain more than one fen type)

Information for the wetlands included in the story map comes from information held in the Map of Irish Wetlands. The Map of Irish Wetlands has been created by Dr Peter Foss and Dr Patrick Crushell and shows the location of more than 12,600 wetland sites in Ireland. The map has been developed and made available to the public free of charge.

If you would like to visit some other wetland you can check out the story map Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland. The story map brings you on an informative tour of 40 wetlands around Ireland where you can learn more about these fascinating habitats.

Link to 'Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland' story map:

http://arcg.is/2kWtYY8

 © Website design Peter Foss 2012