A great day was had last Saturday (22nd February 2014) when the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers undertook a major river clean-up and habitat enhancement work on the Mulkear River above and below Annacotty weir.
The work involved a major clean-up of rubbish and a large volume of plastics which had been deposited at the site below Annacotty weir during recent flood events. More importantly the build-up of trees, branches and other debris which had accumulated at the site was dislodged and the main river channel and side channel were allowed to perform their natural functions once more.
The outing was focused on general riparian management and a large number of native Irish broadleaf trees, both mature and saplings, were planted. Given the extent of damage caused in recent storms and the very large number of tress blown down, it was fitting that the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers should play their part in planting trees to begin to address the damage caused.
Trees within riparian corridors are extremely important places and act as the interface between river and the adjacent land. They provide a vital conduit for the transfer of nutrients between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and play a vital role in capturing nutrients and silt which run off from adjacent lands. They supply shelter and food for many aquatic animals and shade that is an important part of stream temperature regulation.
Such areas play prominent role in supporting biodiversity and mature woodlands, like those found on the eastern river bank of the Mulkear River, are of critical importance in supporting mammal and bird species in addition to providing a range of ecosystem services.
The Mulkear Conservation Volunteers were also very fortunate to find very clear evidence of otter activity several hundred meters upstream from the site. The evidence, which included clear prints and spraints together with a slide and possible resting holts, was investigated and confirmed as other optimal site for otters on the Lower Mulkear River.
The initial planned work related to the installation of dipper boxes but this work could not proceed on Saturday due to the elevated water levels. For safety reasons it was impossible to proceed with this work given the present high water levels. It is hoped that this will form part of the next MCV outing once water levels return to normal levels.
MulkearLIFE would like to most sincerely thank all volunteers who continue to support this work and make a real difference to protecting and enhancing biodiversity in the Mulkear Catchment.