MulkearLIFE restoration project wins Irish award

The LIFE project MulkearLIFE (LIFE07NAT/IRL/000342) was recently presented with the Environment Award for 2013 by the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) at a ceremony in Cork.

The project, which is being led by the Inland Fisheries Ireland, was honoured for its measures torestore degraded habitats in an area of 650 km2 of the Mulkear River catchment of the Lower Shannon Special Area of Conservation. The project’s key partners are the Office of Public Works and Limerick County Council, while The National Parks and Wildlife act as project co-financiers. A range of other stakeholders support the project including local authorities (North & South Tipperary County Councils) and other state bodies (ESB Fisheries, Teagasc, Coillte, EPA) along with the local community (IFA, ICMSA, Mulkear & District Angling Association, local schools and school children, farmers and volunteers).

MulkearLIFE was recognised as one of the most exciting and important river restoration and nature conservation projects ever undertaken on a catchment basis in Ireland. At the ceremony, the Republic of Ireland branch of CIWEM noted that it is providing a “conservation blueprint” for future integrated catchment management.

The aim of the LIFE project is to improve the habitats of the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), and European otter (Lutra lutra), thus enhancing their populations in the Mulkear Catchment. The project is also focusing on the control of non-native invasive riparian plant species and on increasing local biodiversity.

  • A key objective has been to develop strong community links through a comprehensive environmental educational programme within local schools, in addition to field trips conducted by the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers.
  • The involvement of the local farming community has also played a key role on raising the awareness of the local communities on the importance of Mulkear catchment as a resource for all.

Among its main achievements to date is the installation of more than 25 rubble mats on the Mulkear river, utilising almost 4 000 tonnes of rock, and the strategic positioning of more than 600 boulders on the Annagh, Bilboa and Newport rivers to improve biodiversity. The project has also treated around 200 km of river channel (riparian habitat) to control non-native invasive plant species (especially, giant hogweed and knotweed species) and manually removed other invasive species from high-value sites.


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