MulkearLIFE was delighted to have an opportunity to utilise an Air Corp helicopter to get an aerial perspective of the Mulkear Catchment this past week. The flight was supplied courtesy of the skilled pilots of the Irish Air Corp (3rd Operations Wing). MulkearLIFE’s Project Officer, Mr. Glen Wightman was accompanied by Dr. Martin O’ Grady (Inland Fisheries Ireland) on the spectacular birds eye view of the catchment from an Air Corp Eurocopter 135.
Irish Air Corp crew with Glen Wightman at Shannon Airport (Image: Dr. Martin O’ Grady)
Inland Fisheries has been receiving support from the Air Corp for a number of years and Dr. O’ Grady has utilised their support to take aerial photographs of inland, estuarine and sea shore locations of fishery interest. These images can be used for a wide range of purposes from planning survey work, estimating the degree, location and extent of problem areas, sourcing access points and assessing the impact of landslides to pinpointing pollution sources. What might take sereral days or indeed weeks of walkover survey work can be literally done in hours.
Ballyclough Weir from the air (Image: Dr. Martin O’ Grady)
The MulkearLIFE project is therefore extremely grateful to the Air Corp and Dr. Martin O’ Grady for facilitating the inclusion of the Mulkear Catchment in the flight schedule. The flight allowed Mr. Wightman to review the extent of the problem of invasive species in the catchment and the tremendous working being undertaken by our project partners, Limerick County Council and OPW in addressing this problem. Given the water levels in the rivers throughout the catchment were abnormally high, the fly over also alerted MulkearLIFE to areas where significant erosion of river banks was occurring.
Most importantly, the flight was used to track tagged sea lamprey that the project had not been able to locate using standard tracking methodology.
Radio Tracking Sea Lamprey (Image: Glen Wightman)
MulkearLIFE would like to take this opportunity to thank the dedicated men and women of the Irish Air Corp for their support which is greatly appreciated. The aerial images and knowledge gained from the flight will be instrumental in achieving the conservation objectives of the MulkearLIFE project.