A national bog restoration project which includes Carrownagappul Bog, Mountbellew has been nominated for one of Europe’s top environmental awards.
The Living Bog Project, which commenced in 2016 and finished last December, is one of 27 finalists for the EU Commission’s Natura 2000 Awards.
The project has been nominated in the ‘Community’ category for how it brought together community groups and individuals, including turf cutters, to improve the habitat of bogs.
Congratulating the project team on the nomination, Minister Josepha Madigan commented: “I am delighted that the work of the Living Bog with local communities has been recognised with its nomination for a Natura 2000 Award.
“This project aims to restore raised bog across 12 raised bog Special Areas of Conservation across seven counties. Encouraging local community involvement is a significant element of the project.”
“I wish to congratulate the project team on its outstanding efforts to promote awareness of peatland restoration in the local and wider community.”
The project is led by a five person team, and aims to recreate the original hydrological conditions on 750ha worth of bogs to help restore their flora and fauna.
This is being achieved by drain blocking with peat and plastic dams, barrier dam construction and other restoration and improvement measures.
In total, almost 200km of drains have been blocked by the project with roughly 10,000 dams installed.
The community work which is being recognised by the EU includes a programme of events including nature walks, talks, and children’s camps.
A major outreach project involving over 100 schools was also launched, which encouraged kids to learn more about peatlands and bogs and espouse the benefits of restoration at home and socially.
Along with Carrownagappul, the other bogs involved in this project are: Ardagullion SAC, Longford; Carrowbehy SAC, Gorthaganny, Roscommon; Derrinea, Roscommon; Clara, Royclare, Raheenmore, Sharavogue, and Ferbane SACs in Offaly; Garriskil SAC, Westmeath; Killyconny SAC, Cavan/Meath.
novel restoration techniques have seen many rare flora and fauna re-populate the sites relatively quickly after restoration works have taken place at cutovers where peat had been extracted.
A high-level jury will decide on five winners in the Natura 2000 wards, but from the finalists the public will also choose its winner: The Citizens’ Award.
Up to September 15, the general public will be voting for its favourite Natura 2000 Award finalist, and the application that receives the most votes will win the coveted European Citizens’ Award.
Since the Natura 2000 awards started in 2014, there have been no Irish winners in any category.
Voting links are live at https://natura2000award-application.eu/en/finalists.