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River Habitat Enhancement Works Announced for Lough Corrib Catchment

16th September 2021
File image of instream works involving the laying of gravel

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced details of 31 locations prioritised for river habitat enhancement works in the wider Lough Corrib catchment area.

Each of the 31 river channels has been prioritised for enhancement works based on its hydromorphological condition, which considers how far the state of the river had departed from its natural condition.

The prioritisation follows extensive consultation by the State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats with stakeholders, including local angling clubs, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Office of Public Works.

In addition to surveys of the river channels, a review of the physical and ecological characteristics of the watercourses in the catchment were carried out, including water quality and fish status analysis.

A high priority was given to channels with moderate and good water quality; as well as those with low fish status.

Speaking about the announcement, Barry O’Connor, director of IFI’s Development Programme, said: “Following significant research and consultation by IFI, this prioritisation list of 31 river channels sets out where the most urgent habitat rehabilitation works are required in the Lough Corrib catchment area, and will allow us to focus our resources on the areas that are in most need of help.

“This is in addition to the annual maintenance of priority salmonid habitats being conducted by IFI staff throughout the catchment, along with stock management, and weed control operations.

“All prioritised works will be included in our medium-to-long-term management plan for the Great Western Lakes, which is currently under development.”

It is proposed that the enhancement works will be completed over a five-year period, with some already underway at a number of top priority habitat sites.

Extensive preparations will take place for the remaining sites, subject to the availability of resources. These include:

  • Landowner consultation and securement of consent.
  • Preparation of a development plan for each site, followed by appropriate assessment to ensure that sensitive species and habitats are not adversely affected by the proposed works.
  • Undertaking of fish surveys before works are undertaken and in the year after the works are carried out. Further monitoring surveys may also be carried out.
  • Application for consent to the relevant authorities, followed by procurement of contractors and materials.
Published in Angling
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