A considerable amount of work has already been carried out by Bord na Móna in relation to natural heritage and biodiversity across areas of the Bord na Móna bogs. This work has evolved over a number of decades from agriculture and forestry focused projects to allowing natural processes to steer the vegetation succession on cutaway bogs.
We work with a number of local groups and communities to assist in the development of local biodiversity reserves and attractions. The Ecology Team is represented on the recently established Community Wetlands Forum established by Seamus Boland Chair of Irish Rural Link and the Peatlands Council.
Local communities living on the edges of the Bord na Móna bogs are the inspiration for a range of projects and initiatives. In the period 2010-2016, a number of community-led biodiversity and wetland projects have come to fore and Bord na Móna has provided support where possible. The main flagship project for Bord na Móna is the Lough Boora Discovery Park with a range of countrywide projects ongoing, some of which are outlined below.
These wetlands are led by the local Keenagh community in County Longford and their interest is largely focused on the area around the Corlea Trackway Interpretive Centre. Bord na Móna is working with the group to develop further educational and experiential facilities around the existing centre and these should progress in the period 2016-2021. This community project is aligned with the Mid Shannon Wilderness project currently being developed by Longford County Council and partners.
Corlea Biodiversity Awareness day – 27th August 2016
Bord na Mona Ecology Team and partners carried out a Biodiversity awareness/Bioblitz event at Corlea Bog, Co. Longford, 3 km NW of Ballymahon. The Biodiversity Awareness Day was an action of the Bord na Mona Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2021. This was organised as part of Heritage Week. The event was hosted by the Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre (Office of Public Works) and Bord na Mona. Several events and guided nature walks were held during the day.
Overall, about 80 people attended in total during the day and everyone responded very positively to all of the different events. Biological records (201 individual records) complied from Corlea Biodiversity Awareness Day were submitted to the National Biodiversity Data Centre, who also developed a specific project page on their website. Many thanks to all whose who helped with organising and who participated in the Corlea Biodiversity Awareness Day. We are grateful to all those who gave up their time to be there.
This great park is a community run project based in County Kildare. Since 2010, the Ecology Team has worked with local Bord na Móna staff and the Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park on an area of adjacent Bord na Móna cutaway. This cutaway is now leased to Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park and has been developed into a wetland area to provide a local educational resource for the group allowing them to expand their tourism and amenity offering to national and international groups alike. A biodiversity boardwalk has been built and the Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park have laid some rail around the wetland to develop an amenity similar to the former Clonmacnoise Bog.
This walkway and cycle-track amenity runs through Mountlucas Wind Farm. It incorporates 10km of cycle and walking tracks through a landscape of developing and emerging cutaway habitats including Birch scrub and woodland, dry grassland and small wetland features. Biodiversity of interest include several orchid species that can be seen along the trackways during the summer months. To the right is a picture of the Offaly Naturalists Field Club visiting Mountlucas during the summer in search of orchids.
In 2009, restoration work was carried out at Abbeyleix Bog in Co. Laois. This work was managed and cofounded by Bord na Móna and the National Parks and Wildlife Service working with the local community and other stakeholders, including local authorities and the Irish Peatland Conservation Council. After the restoration work was completed in 2011, Bord na Móna leased Abbeyleix Bog to a local community group who continue to develop the nature conservation, amenity and education potential of the site. The project is viewed nationally as a best practice case study for the future successful management of bog conservation and restoration sites in Ireland.
Ballydangan Bog in County Roscommon is a midlands raised bog owned by Bord na Móna and is one of the sites included in the company’s Raised Bog Restoration Project.
In 2009, the local community groups living around the bog became aware that the local population of Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus hibernicus) centred on Ballydangan Bog and neighbouring bog areas had dramatically declined and was on the brink of a local extinction. The Ballydangan Red Grouse project was established in 2009 and started with the local community leasing Ballydangan Bog from Bord na Mona. Following on from the production of a Red Grouse Management Plan the Department of Social Protection employed four full time local staff to facilitate the work which includes predator control, heather cutting and habitat management. While Red Grouse numbers have remained stable since the project began, three pairs of Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) have successfully bred on the site. Translocation efforts to relocate Red Grouse birds from a stable population in another county to Ballydangan have not proven successful, however efforts will continue.