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Tribute Paid by Minister to Communities on World Wetlands Day

2nd February 2022
Wetlands and peatlands provide “socio-economic and environmental benefits as well as being large, long-term carbon stores with unique biodiversity. See vid below

World Wetlands Day 2022 has been marked by Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan with a tribute to communities who have worked to restore and raise awareness of the value of wetlands and peatlands.

Community-led projects are a key component to the conservation and restoration of wetlands, he said.

Mr Noonan has also released a promotional video to “raise public awareness of the value of peatlands as key ecosystems”.

Such wetlands and peatlands provide “socio-economic and environmental benefits as well as being large, long-term carbon stores with unique biodiversity”, he noted.

Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm NoonanMinister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan

“Since 2018, with increased funding and resources, the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has restored or is actively restoring over 5,000 ha of protected raised bogs,”he said.

“This year will see the conclusion of the LIFE ‘Living Bog’ project which restored 12 raised bogs designated as Natura 2000 sites (SACs) in the midlands region,” he said.

A community engagement scheme run by his department has the largest funding allocation to date of 50,000 euro this year, Noonan said.

He has also announced that his department’s Local Biodiversity Action Fund is now open to applications from local authorities.

The fund increased to €1.5m in 2022, and supports locally-led projects that align with actions under the National Biodiversity Action Plan, he said.

One such project funded under the scheme in 2021 is Galway County Council’s “Wetlands of North East Galway” StoryMap, which has also been published this week.

The scheme, operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service has “proven hugely popular, with all 31 local authorities seeking funding in 2021”, he said.

“A wide variety of projects were financed, ranging from the surveying of breeding birds and the creation of pollinator-friendly initiatives to projects raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity to our well-being, he said.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!