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Displaying items by tag: inland waters

#Shannon - The worst flooding in two decades could fall upon the Shannon catchment in the coming days as spring tides accentuate the effects of last weekend's Storm Desmond.

According to The Irish Times, the Office of Public Works has told the National Emergency Co-ordination Committee that the River Shannon from Limerick to Athlone is the one area "giving most concern", with all gauging stations on the waterway showing only rising levels.

And spring tides this coming Friday and Saturday (11-12 December) are set to combine with "the fluvial flood wave coming down the Shannon" that is rated "in the severe category", warned the OPW's Jim Casey, who noted that the Erne catchment is also rising.

Meanwhile, the ESB has increased the flow of water from Parteen Weir at Ardnacrusha to help manage the Shannon's flood waters – but this too may lead to flooding of streets in Limerick city and suburbs.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#StormDesmond - Mike the donkey has a lot to be cheery about as volunteers for Animal Heaven Animal Rescue helped rescue him from floodwaters in Kilorglin, Co Kerry yesterday (Sunday 6 December).

As TheJournal.ie reports, Suzanne Gibbons from the animal rescuers put out an appeal on social media after she was altered to the fate of the donkey, who had bolted from his field after Storm Desmond blew the gate over and got trapped in a nearby flooded river.

It wasn't long before two local men brought a boat with a rope and life ring to help tow back onto dry land the grateful animal who's since been named after one of his rescuers.

Rising water levels across the country in the wake of Storm Desmond have prompted a marine notice from Waterways Ireland advising all masters and owners of vessels at public harbours, jetties or moorings against boating in extreme conditions such as storm-force winds and heavy rainfall.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - A pipeline from the Shannon may be the solution for future water supply demands in Dublin and the Midlands.

But critics have expressed "deep concern" over its potential effects on boating tourism and biodiversity throughout the Shannon system.

Irish Water today (Thursday 26 November) announced that the Parteen Basin on the Shannon, close to the ESB's hydroelectric plant at Ardnacrusha, is its preferred option for the supply point of a 165km pipeline to serve a growing population in Midlands and East Coast counties, as RTÉ News reports.

Around 2% of water that would otherwise be used for power generation at the Ardnacrusha plant would be taken for distribution to a region that already comprises 40% of Ireland's population and is expanding rapidly, according to TheJournal.ie.

However, the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) claims that Irish Water's option does not account for the effects on water levels throughout the Shannon system.

"The preferred option of abstraction from Parteen Basin provides for all year round abstraction. This means that in good weather as water levels decrease on the Shannon it will also have to meet the increased water supply needs of Irish Water," said the IWAI in a statement.

"This will see further decreases in water levels all along the entire Shannon as the level is maintained in Parteen Basin to supply water and electricity."

Loss of boating traffic to the region and threats to already vulnerable waterways habitats are key concerns expressed by the IWAI, which has itself suggested desalinisation of coastal waters as an option for future needs.

The association also notes that Irish Water's neglecting to provide for surplus water storage "is a missed opportunity as it would allow for heavy abstraction during flood conditions and also provide a valuable resource to Midlands communities for new activities and enterprises."

A 10-week public consultation is now underway on Eastern and Midlands Region Water Supply Project, with more details available HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland's 2016 Sponsorship Programme is now open for anyone intending to run recreational waterway and waterside events in the coming new year.

Taking place annually for the past 10 years, the Waterways Ireland Sponsorship Programme has supported angling, canoeing, rowing, sailing and power sports competitions, learning experiences, community, historical and educational events for people with and without disabilities.

Sharon Lavin, head of marketing and communications with Waterways Ireland, said: "The Waterways Ireland Sponsorship Programme supported over 100 events in 2015 including angling, triathlons and many local community events along Ireland's inland waterways.

"Tourism and participation in recreation has a social and economic impact in waterfront communities and we want to see those communities continue to grow".

For an application pack, visit the Waterways Ireland website HERE, email Waterways Ireland at [email protected] or call +353 (0)71 96 50787. Terms and conditions apply.

The closing date the receipt of completed applications is Wednesday 16 December 2015 at 3pm.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - ​Paul Moore from Tullamore took home the Over 18s award in the Waterways Ireland Heritage Plan Art and Photographic Competition for his breathtaking picture of Bolands Lock house on the Grand Canal taken on a frosty winter morning.

Moore's photo was chosen earlier this month after reviewing a very strong group of entries, from which Under 18 award winner Christoph Wagner from Cologne was also selected for his picture of Clonmacnoise from the River Shannon.

Both winners received an iPad Air tablet. To view their winning photos, visit the Facebook gallery HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#FloodRisk - The Government is "stonewalling" new flood plans for at-risk areas near inland waters in Co Galway, according to a county councillor and general election candidate.

As the Galway Advertiser reports, Cllr Anne Rabbitte claims that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has refused to meet with Galway councillors to advise on new flood risk plans for Headford on Lough Corrib, Portumna on Lough Derg and Ballinasloe on the River Suck, a tributary of the Shannon.

As a result, says Cllr Rabbitte, the council is working from draft maps and being "over-cautious" in its estimates, adversely influencing "insurance costs and resale opportunities" for homes in areas not affected by the last serious floods in 2009.

The Galway Advertiser has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#LoughErne - Traditional boatbuilding on Lough Erne is set for a revival thanks to a £3 million lottery grant that will also support wildlife conservation on the Co Fermanagh waterway.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the £2.9 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant to the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership will be used to conserve heritage buildings in disrepair, preserve and improve wildlife habitats and support the management of some 500sqkm of the county's lakelands.

The reintroduction of traditional crafts is also a goal of the new funding, with the hopes of attracting more tourism to a region already popular with anglers.

In other marine wildlife news, Belfast Live reports that as many as 29 whales, dolphins and porpoises have washed up on Northern Ireland's beaches in the last four years.

The most prominent of these is the 43-foot fin whale washed up on Portstewart Strand over a month ago.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland has made two new appointments to its senior staff.

John Boyle has been appointed as director of business development. Formerly with the NI Fire Service, Boyle is from Derrylin, Co Fermanagh and will be based at Waterways Ireland HQ in Enniskillen.

Boyle's new role, which he took up in mid September, encompasses strategy, property and communications.

Elsewhere, Sharon Lavin has been appointed head of marketing and communications with Waterways Ireland and will be based in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

From Roscommon, Lavin previously worked in a senior communications role with AIB Merchant Services.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Waterways Ireland has gone on site at Castle Harbour in Portumna, Co Galway with a programme of works to expand the recreational and tourism capacity of the harbour area.

The programme involves improvements to the harbour, service block and car park and is funded by Fáilte Ireland under the Lough Derg Stimulus Fund.

The project is a partnership between Galway County Council and Waterways Ireland who each own different parts of the site.

The service block, car park and boat pump-out are currently leased and maintained by Galway County Council, while the harbour area and existing moorings are owned and maintained by Waterways Ireland.

Castle Harbour is in the grounds of the Portumna Demesne on the shore of Lough Derg and is immediately surrounded by the castle and formal gardens, community gardens, medieval abbey, forest park and nature reserve.

Improving the capacity of both the harbour and the amenity area will have an immediate impact on the level of access and usage of the surrounding facilities.

In the harbour, the finger jetties are to be widened, lengthened and clad in hardwood timber, connecting them with the end concrete pillar. The finger moorings will also receive low level safety lighting and water & electricity connections. This will enhance the practical use and visual characteristics of the main harbour.

The work will bring the mooring facilities up to the standard that Waterways Ireland currently provides on new installations along the navigations.

The existing boat pump-out facility will be updated and the existing public lighting around the harbour will be replaced with low intensity directional lighting. Improving accessibility for boat users with a disability through the installation of a boat hoist is a key provision of the programme. New paving and the cladding of the existing wall around the harbour is also planned.

The existing service block is to be modernised and the general amenity area is to have seating areas & picnic tables and low intensity directional lighting. The planting of some native species of trees and shrubs will add to the visual amenity of the general area.

The existing car park is currently used for visitor parking and by recreational vehicles (RVs) who use the site as a stopover. The plan is to resurface the area and formalise the parking areas and facilities for these users, including the regulation and provision of services such as water and electricity to enhance the visitor experience to the site.

Waterways Ireland says it recognises the environmental designations of the area and has scoped, planned and is carrying out the works in compliance with best practice.

The work is expected to be completed early in 2016.​

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Minister for Natural Resources Joe McHugh and the NI Minister for Arts Culture and Leisure Caral Ni Chuilin have welcome the agreement completed by ESB with both departments to mitigate the loss of a quantity of elvers at ESB’s Cathaleen’s Fall hydroelectric plant on the River Erne.

“I want to commend ESB for the responsibility and diligence they have shown in agreeing a comprehensive package to mitigate the loss of elvers," said Minister McHugh.

“The package includes the purchase and release of eels into the sea and the extension of its highly successful 'trap and transport' programme on the Erne to carry eels around the Hydro Electric Plant.”

Both ministers were also briefed on the inter-agency protocol jointly developed by ESB, Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) around the entire operation of the trapping and release of eels at the plant.

“Key to any response to this incident is the requirement to minimise the risk of repeating it and that measures in place, North and South, to protect the vulnerable eel species are not undermined," said Minister Ni Chuilin.

“Officials in my department and IFI have agreed a new protocol to clarify roles and responsibilities regarding the operation of hydroelectric plant installations, and fisheries staff from both government organisations will assist in overseeing the monitoring of elver traps and the subsequent overland transport of them by ESB on the Erne catchment.”

Both ministers also were also happy that ESB had, since the incident, made considerable investment in a full upgrade of elver trapping facilities to the latest available technology at Cathaleen’s Fall.

This upgrade ensures enhanced aeration and storage facilities for collected elvers before release.

“ESB acted on the technology upgrade very quickly," said Minister McHugh. "I want to emphasise that a key element of the mitigation agreement also includes a commitment by ESB to keep operational matters under review in the light of future developments in technology.”

Minister Ni Chuilin stressed that in contemplation of potential mitigation options, both departments had sought the views of the Standing Scientific Committee on Eels (SSCE), which is composed of scientists from a range of organisations North and South acting in an independent advisory capacity.

“Independent scientific views on the effectiveness and adequacy of proposed mitigation measures to address the initial loss [are] essential for stakeholder confidence, and I trust that the new protocols which have been put in place will avoid any repeat of the incident which happened at Easter 2014,” she said.

Published in Inland Waterways
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