The Story and the Success of MulkearLIFE’s work on the Lower Shannon SAC was sold with great vigour to an appreciative audience in Dublin’s city centre on Tuesday (5 March 2013). The event was the annual Water Framework Directive (WED) Eastern River Basin District (ERBD) Protected Areas Biodiversity Workshop. This year the workshop focused on ‘Ecological Status and Soft Engineering’. The full day event in the Gresham Hotel on Dublin’s O’Connell Street was attended by a large audience predominately of professionals working in the field. MulkearLIFE was delighted to be afforded the opportunity to attend and present at the event.
MulkearLIFE’s work on the Lower Shannon SAC – highlighted in Dublin (Image: RÓC)
A great many of the presentations were of direct relevance to MulkearLIFE and our project partners Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Office of Public Works, Limerick County Council and the National Parks & Wildlife Service. The morning session focused on approaches to assessing ecological status and including interesting presentations on the implementing of river basin management plans and specific measures. Of particular interest to MulkearLIFE was a presentation by Kate Ruddock of the Irish Wildlife Trust on ‘Community involvement in Assessment of Protected Species and their Habitats’ and in particular their work with otter. The second session focused on innovation and research and included a presentation by Dr. Joe Caffrey, Inland Fisheries Ireland on the control and management of invasive species with a case study of the CAISIE LIFE + project.
Dr. Joe Caffrey, IFI, case study of CAISIE LIFE+ project (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Another presentation of particular interest from this section was given by Dr Taly Hunter-Williams of the Geological Survey of Ireland on Tools for Groundwater Assessment and Modelling.
Dr Taly Hunter-Williams of the Geological Survey of Ireland (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The afternoon sessions focused on soft engineering tools and techniques and included an extremely interesting presentation by Dr. Louise Firth, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, Galway (NUIG) on artificial coastal defences and how such defences could be enhanced from a biodiversity perspective through the use of simple design modifications.
Dr. Louise Firth, Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway (Image: RÓC)
Dr Martin O’Grady, Inland Fisheries Ireland, gave a wonderful presentation on the use of micro-satellite DNA analysis as a fisheries management tool. Dr. O’Grady, who has greatly helped the development of MulkearLIFE’s instream restoration plans, gave an overview of work with trout on several river and lake systems in Ireland.
Dr. Martin O’ Grady, outlined DNA analysis as a fisheries management tool (Image: RÓC)
MulkearLIFE presented in the final session of the day which focused on demonstration projects and case studies. The project’s presentation outlined the value of LIFE funding but was primarily focused on the work of Inland Fisheries Ireland, as coordinating beneficiary, and the work of the two main associated beneficiaries (or project partners), namely the Office of Public Works and Limerick County Council. The project’s instream restoration work throughout the Mulkear catchment and its work on non-native invasives was outlined in considerable detail as was the nature of the project’s work to achieve sea lamprey passage.
MulkearLIFE’s instream works highlighted in workshop (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The project work with local farmers to improve water quality was also presented. The presentation also focused on the importance of information dissemination activities and the need to engage local communities and schoolchildren in particular. It was noted, MulkearLIFE has engaged over 1,700 local schoolchildren in its environmental education programme involving classroom presentations and river based school fieldtrips. The final session also included a presentation by our sister LIFE project, IRD DuhallowLIFE, where Eileen Lenihan gave an interesting presentation on the work of the project.
MulkearLIFE is extremely grateful to the Maryann Harris of Dublin City Council and Mr. Ray Earle of the ERBD for giving MulkearLIFE the opportunity to present at this important networking and information-sharing event.