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County Leitrim Wetland Survey Report Published

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The results of a 2019 survey of wetlands in County Leitrim commissioned by Leitrim County Council and undertaken by ecologists with Wetland Surveys Ireland has been published. The survey aimed to identify all wetland areas in the county to better inform land use planning and sustainable development strategies for the county.

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 include a wide range of wildlife habitats such as bogs, marshes, swamps, wet woodlands, lakes, ponds, salt-marshes, estuaries, and coastal lagoons.

Wetlands are important for biodiversity by supporting a wide range of specialist plant and animal species. In addition, wetlands provide important ecosystem services such as flood prevention, provision of clean water, and carbon storage. Despite the known importance of wetlands, they continue to be threatened and damaged from activities such as drainage and infilling.

By carrying out a review of digital maps and previous studies the Leitrim Wetland Survey focused on the identification of 38 wetland habitat types occurring within 388 potential sites in the county. As part of the study, information on these sites has been collated into a single digital wetland map of the county.

Dr Patrick Crushell, an ecologist with Wetland Surveys Ireland who worked on the project stated that “the Leitrim wetland map should provide a very useful resource and can be used to inform land-use planning to ensure the future sustainable use of the county’s wetlands”.

The report highlights the absence of detailed information on 269 sites and the 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 County Leitrim Wetland Survey 2019 was made possible through the financial support of Leitrim County Council and The Heritage Council. 

The County Leitrim Wetland Survey is an action of the County Leitrim Heritage Plan 2003-2008. The report is available from Sarah Malone, Heritage Officer, Leitrim County Council. 


#MapofIrishWetlands

New Map of Irish Wetlands launched with increased functionality

A new enhanced version of the Map of Irish Wetlands has just been published by Dr Peter Foss (Foss Environmental Consulting) and Dr Patrick Crushell (Wetland Surveys Ireland). This project was developed jointly on a voluntary basis by the two ecologists and is the only centralised map of all wetlands that occur in Ireland.

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The Map of Irish Wetlands (MIW) is now displayed as an ESRI web map application, with additional functionality including searching for site by name, the addition of boundaries for designated sites, the ability to change the base map and other technical functions. 

The main aim of the Map of Irish Wetlands project is to provide the user with information relating to wetland sites across Ireland. The MIW displays information on 12,800+ Irish wetlands, both within the state network of protected areas and outside this network, originating from a wide variety of sources. It is the only map which is freely available to show information on all Irish wetlands. 

The location of sites is displayed on the web map with additional information presented in a pop up window on each site which includes: site name, wetland habitats present, ecological interest and conservation status, source of additional site information and site photograph. 

Created in 2012, the on-line Map of Irish Wetlands, was intitially displayed on the Google Maps platform from 2013 to 2019.

As Dr. Foss explains “We hope the new Map of Irish Wetlands resource developed as an ESRI web map, with increased functionality and the inclusion of designated site boundaries, will be of use to a range of professionals and general public who are interested in identifying the wetland biodiversity resource in a given area.”

The map can be viewed at either of the following websites: www.WetlandSurveysIreland.com or www.FossEnvironmentalConsulting.com


County Longford Wetland Field Survey 2019

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Following on from the 2017 County Longford & Roscommon Wetland Study project, which identified all wetlands in the two counties, a new report on wetlands surveyed in 2019 in County Longford has been published. The survey was commissioned by Longford County Council and undertaken by ecologists with Wetland Surveys Ireland. The survey aimed to identifying the specific wetland habitats and ecological interest on 18 sites within the county, and prepare habitat maps for each.

Wetlands are important for biodiversity by supporting a wide range of specialist plant and animal species. In addition, wetlands provide important ecosystem services such as flood prevention, provision of clean water, and carbon storage. Despite the known importance of wetlands, they continue to be threatened and damaged from activities such as drainage and infilling.

The main findings to emerge from the County Longford Wetland Field Survey 2019 was that a number of important wetland sites were identified (deemed to be of county or high local importance). This included raised bog and lake / wet grassland wetland sites. Raised bogs are listed under the EU Habitats Directive as a habitat of conservation concern. New records for Marsh Fritillary ( Annex II species under the EU Habitats Directive) were also recorded during the course of the survey on two wetlands, extending the known distribution of this important species in the county.

The report also 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. 

The County Longford Wetlands Field Survey 2019 was made possible through the financial support of Longford County Council and The Heritage Council. 

The County Longford Wetlands Field Survey 2019 is an action of the County Longford Draft Heritage Plan 2015-2020. The report is available from Máiréad Ní Chonghaile, Heritage Officer, Longford County Council.

International bog day 2019 - Celebrating the beauty of bogs

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International Bog Day is celebrated around the world on the fourth Sunday in July – this falls on 28th July in 2019. This annual event has been designed to celebrate the beauty of bogs and to help make people more aware of peatlands, the services they provide for free, and the threats they face. 

Bogs are not only beautiful, dramatic landscapes, full of inspiring wildlife, but also provide us with some very useful services, vital to our own survival. Their protection is necessary to avoid adverse economic and environmental impacts. 

Some key services that bogs provide are shown on the attached image (Source: https://bogday.org/)

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You can learn more about some of the most important raised bogs in Ireland and where to find them in the story map created by Wetland Surveys Ireland and Foss Environmental Consulting - The Raised Bogs of Ireland.

The story map brings you on an informative tour of 53 raised bog Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and the 75 raised bog Natural Heritage Areas (NHA) where you can learn more about these fascinating peatland habitats. The story map includes and introduction to the SAC and NHA raised bog network, map location information for these raised bogs; the designated site boundary; a brief summary of the habitat and species of interest on the site; restoration work which has been undertaken on the sites under EU LIFE projects. The raised bogs which are open to the public and include information signs and a boardwalk are also highlighted. 

Included on the raised bog story map are peatlands such as Clara Bog, Girley Bog, Scohaboy Bog, Carn Park Bog, Cloonshanville Bog, all of which have visitor access, together with the other sites being conserved throughout the country.

So if you would like to learn more about Ireland’s raised bogs, all you have to do to access the story map is go to the link shown below:

http://bit.ly/raisedbogs

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#MapofIrishWetlands #BogDay

Take the County Monaghan Wetland Tour

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The new online story map forms part of the County Monaghan Heritage Series publication “Monaghan’s Wonderful Wetland” being launched today. The County Monaghan Wetland Tour is an initiative of the Heritage Office, Monaghan County Council. 

The wetland locations shown in this interactive online tour are sites in Co. Monaghan open to public that have various facilities including parking, paths, fishing stands (may require license), information signs, longer walking routes or a visitor centre. 

The story map brings you on an informative tour of 23 wetlands around Monaghan where you can learn more about these fascinating habitats. These sites have a variety of visitor facilities including parking, paths, boardwalks, exhibitions and information signs, that will help you enjoy a visit to these magical places, and learn more about wetlands and their value to people and wildlife. The map is based on a selection of wetlands shown on the Map of Irish Wetlands. 

The story map includes map location information, a brief summary of what you can discover at the sites, a summary of facilities at each location, and a link to further information, opening times and more.

To access the story map go to the link shown below:

http://bit.ly/MonaghanWetlands

@MonaghanHeritageForum @TheHeritageCouncil #MapofIrishWetlands

Celebrating Irish Wetlands on World Wetlands Day

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 Each year on the 2nd February many, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have acted to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention which was signed in 1971.

National and local community organisations throughout Ireland participate by organising a host of different events throughout the country as part of #World Wetlands Day.

Even if you cannot make it to one of the organised events in person on World Wetlands Day, you can still ‘remotely visit’ and learn more about Ireland’s great wetland wealth by taking one of the story map tours that Wetland Surveys Ireland and Foss Environmental Consulting have prepared.

Wetlands to visit around Ireland
Link - http://arcg.is/2kWtYY8

Ramsar Wetlands in the Republic of Ireland
Link -
http://arcg.is/2tPjHAB

Bohernabreena and the Glenasmole Valley Tour
Link -
 http://arcg.is/2oxurSK

The Raised Bogs of Ireland
Link - http://bit.ly/raisedbogs

Ireland’s Fabulous Fens
Link - http://bit.ly/IrishFens

#MapofIrishWetlands

The Raised Bogs of Ireland story map launched

25 October 2018

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The Map of Irish Wetlands team have created an exciting new on-line story map ‘The Raised Bogs of Ireland' to help you find out more about the most important conservation worthy peatlands around the country. Ireland has a high proportion of the total EU resource of raised bog (over 50%) and so has a special responsibility for their conservation at an international level.

The story map brings you on an informative tour of 53 raised bog Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and the 75 raised bog Natural Heritage Areas (NHA) where you can learn more about these fascinating peatland habitats. The story map includes and introduction to the SAC and NHA raised bog network, map location information for these raised bogs; the designated site boundary; a brief summary of the habitat and species of interest on the site; restoration work which has been undertaken on the sites under EU LIFE projects; and NPWS site code. The raised bogs which are open to the public and include information signs and a boardwalk are also highlighted. 

Included on the new raised bog story map are peatlands such as Clara Bog, Girley Bog, Scohaboy Bog, Carn Park Bog, Cloonshanville Bog, all of which have visitor access, together with the other sites being conserved throughout the country.

The story map is based on a selection of sites included 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 12,700 wetland sites in Ireland.

According to Peter Foss “The raised bog story map was developed to highlight the occurrence and value of raised bogs throughout the country, increase awareness amongst the general public of these fascinating wild wetland habitats, and bring information relating to our raised bogs into a single easily accessible resource”.

The Map of Irish Wetlands and the Raised Bogs of Ireland story map have been developed and made available to the public free of charge without the assistance of any public funding.

Link to The Raised Bogs of Ireland story map:

http://bit.ly/raisedbogs

#MapofIrishWetlands

ENDS

Biodiversity on your doorstep

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Wetland Surveys Ireland were delighted to present a talk and lead a well attended walk as part of Heritage Week along the River Laune and the reed bed and wet woodland areas within the Astellas grounds in Killorglin, Co. Kerry earlier in the week. 

A presentation on the value of wetlands was given by Dr. Patrick Crushell, who was assisted during the evening walk by Dr Mary Catherine Gallagher from WSI. As part of the event Astellas Ireland sponsored the production of a leaflet entitled ‘Biodiversity on your doorstep’ which provided information to participants on the wetland habitats and wildlife found along the walk route, which is part of the Castlemaine Harbour SAC.

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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

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