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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All About Biodiversity

Bernadette Guest, Heritage Officer with County Waterford outlined the County Local Biodiversity Action Plan, Conserving our Natural Heritage 2008-13. You can download a copy from the Council website.
First she outlined the relevant legislation including such exciting documents as the Birds Directive, the Habitats Directive and the 2000 National Biodiversity Plan.
Two new publications could interest viewers:
  • The Economic and Social Aspects of Biodiversity: benefits and costs of Biodiversity in Ireland. (for more information check this weblink)
  • The Status of EU Protected Habitats and Species in Ireland (download here)
What is of special biodiversity in County Waterford? Mammals such as the red squirrel, pine martin; the Killarney fern and the freshwater Pearl mussel. She outlined briefly threats as poor water quality, invasive species; drainage and infilling of wetlands.
Which parts of Waterford are designated for protection? An overview of Protected sites can be found on the NPWS website.
A full list of SAC’s, SPA’s and pNHA’s can be found on the NPWS website under Maps and Data. Search under Waterford in the Map Viewer. You can also look under Detailed results for Site Synopsis.
Bernie outlined the 3 Aims of the Action Plan:
  • Raising Awareness…Outdoor science week, Biodiversity Webpage, Biodiversity Day, Heritage week events
  • Addressing Information gaps…surveys and research, links with National Biodiversity Data Centre, WIT links.
  • Maintaining and enhancing Biodiversity….roadside planting schemes, creation of wetlands, retention of hedgerows in new developments.
Specific Actions under the plan have included:
  • Training for County Council staff and elected members to inform best practice for biodiversity e.g. hedgerow spraying, Bats and Bridges.
  • Compliance with Cathcment Plans for freshwater mussel.
  • Invasive Species seminar on November 22nd (as part of awareness programme)…see full details and download application form here. She outlined some of the main culprits such as Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and the Grey Squirrel. Dr Peter Turner is looking for volunteers to take part in this survey.
  • Publish Wetlands Survey (remember sitting in the same room years ago discussing this issue of lesser known, poorly protected wetlands)
  • Install information signage for habitats such as Tramore at public access points
  • Introduce measures to protect and enhance coastal biodiversity
Future plans include: Habitat mapping, TPO review and selected study of Biodiveristy sites with regard to best practice and enhancement.
If you would like to contact Bernadette Guest, ring 058 20839 or email to
Another interesting report that you might find interesting:
The identification of local Important Plant Areas (IPAs) in County Waterford 2008 by Paul Green (Recorder) and Una Fitzpatrick (National Biodiversity Data Centre). Download here.

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