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02 Oct 2022

European funding granted to help increase biodiversity near Louth rivers

River Bank Clean Up

An initiative to increase biodiversity in a small river near Knockbridge has been launched, with a local organisation working with landowners to improve water quality and farming biodiversity.

The Oriel River Catchments and Coastal Association (ORCCA) are working together with the Department of Agriculture on a European Innovation Project (EIP) to increase biodiversity in a feeder river of the River Fane, near Carrickrobin.

The project, which received €67,766 in funding from the Department of Agriculture in June, aims to improve the water quality of the river and to examine the wildlife that exist within it.

Liam Woods, Secretary of ORCCA, told the Democrat that they are currently working with local landowners to carry out the project, and potentially solve any ecological problems alongside them.

“We’re getting some ecologists out to walk the stream, to have a look at it and see where the pressures are on it, be it pollution or maybe it’s just animal access, barriers to fish migration,” said Mr Woods.

“Any things that are going to affect the biodiversity of the stream, they’ll highlight it, come up with an action plan and we’ll roll it out then.”

ORCCA, which have been established for less than a year, will also have volunteers at the stream, examining the insects which live on the stream as this allows them to figure out the water quality.

Other organisations, like Inland Fisheries Ireland, will be examining what fish are currently in the Carrickrobin stream, which will all form part of the action plan on tackling any issues within the stream.

According to Mr Woods, the main issue will likely be the removal of a 50-metre long culvert pipe in the river, which acts as a barrier to migrating fish.

“It’s [culvert] in one section of the stream so that’s a massive barrier to migratory fish, so that’s the main focus of the project to get rid of that barrier, open up the stream again and bring it to the surface,” said Mr Woods.

Rather than removing the culvert directly, Mr Woods says that they will likely redirect the river and reintroduce bends and meanders into the stream.

“A lot of these streams are kind of straightened and they go along field boundaries. They’re probably not in their natural form per se, so trying to bring back a bit of natural form to it.”

Mr Woods says that this is some of the first EIP funding to arrive in North Louth, and that the group is looking forward to working on the project.

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