Biodiversity - butterfly and bees on a flower

Local Community & Biodiversity Projects

A considerable amount of work has already been carried out by Bord na Móna in relation to natural heritage and biodiversity across areas of our bogs.

Most of the work already begun has evolved over the last 30 years from grassland and conifer plantations (for example Lough Boora Discovery Park), to allowing natural processes to steer the vegetation succession on cutaway bogs. All work undertaken is in line with our Biodiversity Action Plan 2010 – 2015

Smaller projects

Area: approx 1,000 ha

  • Abbeyleix (Killamuck) Bog restoration, Co Laois
  • Ballydangan Red Grouse Project (Blackwater Works), Co Roscommon
  • Ballycon Wetland (Clonsast Works), Co Offaly
  • Derryarkin wetland (Derrygreenagh Works), Co Westmeath
  • Derryounce Walkway (Clonsast Works), Co Offaly
  • Doire Bhile wetlands (Littleton Works), Co Tipperary
  • Glenties Walkway, Co Donegal
  • Lismanny Bog Project, Co Galway
  • Lullybeg Butterfly Conservation Ireland Site, Co Kildare
  • Lullymore Wetlands (Lullymore Works), Co Kildare
  • Mountdillon Biodiversity project: crop trials and biodiversity areas (project with National Parks and Wildlife Service), Counties Longford and Roscommon

Lough Boora Discovery Park

Area: 3,000 ha

Incorporating:

  • Amenity and biodiversity
  • model airplane club
  • walkways
  • cycle paths
  • angling lakes
  • internationally recognised outdoor sculpture park
  • established biodiversity areas
  • Grey Partridge project

View of Lough Boora Parklands
The Boora Bog complex in Co. Offaly is one of the oldest areas of commercial production in which large tracts of cutaway emerged. In 1994 a group of local Bord na Móna workers formed the Lough Boora Parklands Group who produced an integrated land use plan for the Boora cutaways.  While the Lough Boora Discovery Park is a focal area for showcasing different types of after-use of cutaway bogs, it also represents an extensive area of space within which habitats and species have taken over from the former industrial peat production landscape.

This illustrates the power of natural colonisation to create biodiversity spaces, albeit with some targeted management such as drain blocking to enhance wetland features and/or planting to enhance woodland development. The Lough Boora Discovery Park is still evolving and recent years have seen the continuation of long-term bird surveys by BirdWatch Ireland to monitor use of the areas by species such as Whooper Swan, Lapwing, and a range of wetland birds.

The fact that several thousand visitors come to the parklands throughout the year illustrates how core areas can be selected and managed for target species and habitats (such as the National Parks and Wildlife Services Grey Partridge managed area), while other areas can be zoned for integrated uses such as amenity and biodiversity.

More about Lough Boora Discovery Park

Oweninny Bogs, Co. Mayo

Area: 6,500 ha

Incorporating:

  • Rehabilitated acidic wetland
  • Atlantic blanket bog remnants
  • restored Atlantic blanket bog
  • potential walkways initiative

View of Mayo bog and wind farm in backgroundThis is the largest example of a peatland rehabilitation programme in Europe and involved a comprehensive practical approach that included drain blocking to rewet the bogs and promote the re-establishment of peat-forming vegetation and typical peatland species such as bog mosses and bog cottons.

The rehabilitation programme is seen as compatible with the development of an extensive wind farm to replace the existing wind farm at Bellacorick (link to Bellacorick wind farm page) – this will be a significant development in terms of combining rehabilitation for biodiversity with a large scale ‘green energy’ project.

The wind farm has passed through the EIA and planning processes and planning permission was granted in 2003, work is expected to commence soon. While the rehabilitation work was largely completed in 2005, monitoring of the site continues and in 2009 a seasonal bird survey was carried out by BirdWatch Ireland. Bord na Móna will also be working in partnership with National Parks and Wildlife Service to monitor the biodiversity value of the site. We are also working with the local Crossmolina Group to establish a series of signed walkways through the bog area.

Abbeyleix (Killamuck) Bog Restoration Project

Heather and stream on Abbeyleix peatlandsAbbeyleix Bog, known locally as Killamuck Bog, is located just to the southern limits of Abbeyleix Heritage town in County Laois. The bog was initially drained for peat moss production in the 1980s, but was selected by Bord na Móna as an ideal site for restoration of active Raised Bog habitat.

Bord na Móna began working with the local community members of Abbeyleix, who have a keen interest in the site and the potential to use the area for amenity and education, as well as recognising its intrinsic value as a nature and biodiversity reserve. Between March and June 2009 an extensive programme of drain blocking was completed in order to stop further drainage of the site and restore water levels for the reinstatement of peat forming vegetation.

The restoration-rewetting project comprised a partnership between Bord na Móna, National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Laois Heritage (County Council) with the main drivers being the enthusiastic members of the local community. The local community has now undertaken to act as guardians of the bog and a lease agreement has been signed with Bord na Móna that facilitates the passing over of responsibility of management to the local community.

Work will continue to enhance the site in terms of biodiversity, but it is also hoped to develop amenity and educational opportunities that will be sympathetic to the nature conservation values of the bog. The bog is easily accessed along an old railway line which is being developed as a community walkway.

Destinations

There are a number of areas that are open to the public for access and to appreciate the unfolding landscape of the cutaway bogs. The best sites for secure access are:

  • The Lough Boora Parklands, Co. Offaly
  • Abbeyleix Bog, Co. Laois
  • Doire Bhile wetlands, Co. Tipperary
  • Bellacorick Walkway (under development), Crossmolina, Co. Mayo

Other areas on the edges of the Bord na Móna bogs that are equally excellent destinations are:

  • Ballycroy National Park, Bangor, Co. Mayo
  • Clara Bog Interpretive Centre, Clara, Co. Offaly
  • Corlea Trackway, Keenagh, Co. Longford
  • Irish Peatland Conservation Council HQ, Lullymore, Co. Kildare
  • Lullymore Heritage Centre, Rathangan, Co. Kildare