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Minister Hails Farmers’ Efforts to Reduce Pollution at Duncannon Beach

11th June 2021
Duncannon Beach on Co Wexford
File image of Duncannon Beach on Co Wexford Credit: Ichabod Ipswich/Flickr

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett has congratulated a number of farmers in Duncannon, Co Wexford on improvements they have achieved in tackling water quality.

Over two-and-a-half years of the department-funded Duncannon Innovation Project, studies show bacterial counts in two streams which flow into the sea have fallen considerably while ecological assessments also show an increase in numbers of many pollution sensitive macroinvertebrate species

Speaking from Duncannon yesterday (Thursday 10 June), Minister Hackett said: “I am really proud of the contribution made by both the farmers and my department to improving the bacterial quality of the two coastal streams that flow onto the beach here.

“While sewage was a factor in Duncannon Beach losing its Blue Flag in 2007, nutrients and sediments from agricultural use were issues, too. So it is gratifying to visit and hear about both the improvement in water quality and the increase in species which have returned to it.”

The project, run in collaboration with Wexford County Council, was awarded €550,000 from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the Rural Development Programme, using the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) model.

Local farmers were provided with a full-time sustainability manager who helped with their Pollution Potential Zone (PPZ) plans and explained how sources of pollution could be dealt with.

Various measures were implemented such as fencing watercourses, putting in arable grass margins alongside the streams, moving water troughs, planting extensive runs of native hedges and implementing enhanced nutrient management planning for all farms.

Minister Hackett was also briefed on how the reduction in pollution from agricultural sources has highlighted other sources of bacterial contamination resulting in Irish Water accelerating planning for a municipal wastewater treatment system for the area to 2021.

“Bringing the start date of that plant forward is really good news for this very scenic area on the Barrow Estuary,” she said.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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