Communities creating a ‘vision’ for Dundalk Bay and its rivers

Dundalk Bay Special Area of Conservation

Staff Reporter

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

Email:

editor@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Communities creating a ‘vision’ for Dundalk Bay and its rivers

Dundalk Bay Special Area of Conservation

Dundalk Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is designated for shellfish, wetland birds and a range of marine and coastal habitats including vegetated shingle and saltmarsh.

The rivers that flow into Dundalk Bay rise in most of the neighbouring counties. The Flurry in Co. Down; the Kilcurry and Castletown in Co. Armagh; the Fane in Co. Monaghan; the Gylde Inn Counties Cavan and Monaghan; and the Dee in County Meath.

Covering an area of approximately 1,600km2 and with a population of nearly 117,000 in the ROI area, creating a community vision for the rivers of Dundalk Bay could be rather a challenge.

Under the guidance of Mark Horton of the Ballinderry Rivers Trust and with the assistance of Alec Rolston from DkIT, the Local Authority Community Water Officers for Cavan, Monaghan and Louth decided to take on this very challenge.

Using the community engagement methodologies developed by the Ballinderry Rivers Trust called the RIPPLE methodology: Rivers Involving People, Places and Leading by Example the ‘vision’ was created by communities at 7 meetings across the catchment in March 2017.

117 people contributed to the ‘vision’ - 77 men and 40 women.

The actions people wanted to see happen in the catchment were recorded to become the action plan for the new Vision for Dundalk Bay.

The ratification meeting was well attended and the draft vision was welcomed and accepted by all present. Although it is really wonderful to have a community vision for our rivers of Dundalk Bay but we feel we would like a contribution from coastal communities to this vision. Is there anything specific to the coastal area that needs to be included?

The Louth coastline is important not only as a special area of conservation but it is important to the local economy for recreation, tourism and for fishing. The saltmarshes and wetlands provide a break for storm surges as well as home to bird species. Are there measures you would like to see taken to protect our coastline? If so this is your opportunity to contribute to a ‘vision’ to make what you want to see happen.

The meeting is happening in Blackrock Haggardstown Community Centre, Sandy Lane, Blackrock on Thursday 1st February at 8pm. This is a free event and everyone is welcome.

Hosted by the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office along with Dundalk Institute of Technology and the Rivers Trust, if you have any queries about this event please do not hesitate to contact Gretta McCarron 085 808 5756 gmccarron@lawco.ie

See www.watersandcommunities.ie or www.catchments.ie