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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate Emissions


A colleague of mine in Oregon sent me this interesting map. If you want to see the full article, click here

Great news for Waterford Coastline


An Bord Pleanála finally released its decision on the hotel, golf and housing complex at Garrarus and Kilfarrasy proposed by Islandikane Developments Ltd. The decision is a complete refusal to grant planning permission and one which overturns Waterford County Council’s decision to grant permission in Feb 2009.

This refusal by An Bord Pleanála is the decision that the Garrarus group have worked so hard to create a case for and the Bord has recognised and reiterated the compelling reasons to preserve the site as one that is characterised by its open landscape, rural style settlement and special habitats. To read a copy of the Bord’s decision click here.

This is a landmark decision by the Bord which should provide a test case which can set a precedent to prevent similar style developments on other areas of special protection in Ireland. The positive response by the Bord to the appeals it received arguing against this development is one that substantiates the effort, expertise and dedication of all those involved in making these appeals.

This result is the culmination of each and every submission that was lodged with Waterford County Council Planning Authority as all of these were part of the file that was submitted to An Bord Pleanála and so there are many, many people who have contributed to this outcome. The GDCR would like to thank everyone for the support, advice and work that they have undertaken in order to contribute and participate in the campaign of opposition to the proposed development. Their website is here.

We have preserved, for now, the landscape, character and unspoilt beauty of the place in which we live and relax and this is no small victory.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Don't be a nanny, visit the goats!


Irish Wildlife Trust November Outing

The Waterford branch of the IWT invite you to join them on a walk and visit to the Bilberry goats. This will take place on Sunday, November 22nd. The walk will leave from outside the Brewery, just past Rice Bridge, starting at 2 pm. The route will take us out Bilberry and up Quarry Road to the goats and then back by Gracedieu and Summerhill to the start point. Points of interest in addition to the goats include urban wildlife and the natural history of the River Suir.
All are welcome.
Check out the Bilberry Goats Blog or the website for more information about the goats.

Walk leader Ray McGrath.
For more information, telephone 051 382629 and 085 746 8102.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bulletin of the National Biodiversity Data Centre


The Autumn issue of Biodiversity Ireland is now available as a download from the National Biodiversity Data Centre website.
Well worth a look.

Also check out the Biodiversity maps

Friday, May 29, 2009

Seaweeds



"Have some seaweed pasta sauce, Ah go on, go on"




Samples of Marinated Aalaria (wakame), Laver bread (made with sloughan), Cheese and Dilisk Scones, Kelp Crisps, Carageen Chocolate Blancmange were all on offer at Kilfarrassey on Saturday last. Recipes available on the blog (check under March postings in Archive on left side) or by emailing Marie Power

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bealtaine events on 23rd and 24th May

As part of the Bealtaine Festival organised by Calmast, the Waterford branch of the Irish Wildlife Trust will host the following two events.

To book, login here

Food for Free!
Join Marie Power on Saturday 23rd May at Kilfarassey Strand, Fenor, Co. Waterford for seaweed identification and it's use in cooking. The event will include samples of "sea vegetables" and dishes made from them, a scramble on the rocks to see how they grow and how to collect in a sustainable way, and some beauty uses of seaweed. Those interested should assemble at 10.30am at Kilfarrassey carpark.
Directions: From Tramore take coast road (R675) towards Dungarvan. Just before the village of Fenor, take the turn to the left which is signposted Kilfarassey. The car park is about a mile down this road.

Wildwatch.
Date: Sunday 24th May
Venue: Mahonbridge/ Comeraghs - Mahon bridge Village. Participants will learn about the animals and plants that live in the Comeraghs. The Crough Walk is a 2km woodland walk along the banks of the Mahon Stream. Here we will do some nature spotting, mammal tracking, tree naming, stream dipping and identifying bird calls.
The walk will be lead by Denis Cullen.We will assemble at 2.00 pm at Mahon Bridge. Directions: From Waterford take the N25 (Cork road). Turn off (right) just past Kilmacthomas for Mahonbridge. Continue for approximately 4km until you arrive in the village of Mahonbridge

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sand-lubbers at Work

Photos from IWT/AOL Volunteer day on May 7th at Tramore Sand Dunes.
25 conservation enthusiasts took to the dunes at 9 am yesterday morning to try to stabilise the dunes, which are under threat from weather, ocean, trampling, quadbiking etc. They came fromn Waterford-based company, AOL and along with Irish Wildlife Trust members and Education Officer Andrew, and Andy from Conservation Services (contractor working for Waterford County Council on this project) to transplant marram grass, lay protective mesh and clear up litter.
Blow-outs (areas without any grass or plants) are part of the process of erosion in which the exposed sand is vulnerable to the effects of wind etc, which can simply blow the dunes away, wiping out the homes of a large variety of insects, birds, mammals and plants which inhabit the area. And destroying a valuable amenity in this case. Marram Grass plays a key role in dune stabilisation, by "binding" the sand grains together, and by causing more sand to accumulate, leading to conditions which support other plant life and consequently, a stable dune. Mesh reduces the blow-off in exposed areas of sand. Tramore Dunes are part of an SAC (Special Area of Conservation # 000671. see www.npws.ie for more information) and need intervention if they are to survive in the present form. The area has been fenced off to allow the grass to regenerate.
You can see that it was a sunny bluesky day and really great fun - what you can't see in the photos was the million grains of sand that got into hair, ears, noses, the kelley-kettle.... The wind was almost overpowering - litterpickers almost turned into kitesurfers over the Baldy Man when wind got into sacks!
But this was a determined and hardy group of people who stuck at the task till 4pm and great progress could be seen when we finally loaded up the tools and headed for home.

Bernie Guest, Waterford County Heritage Officer afterwards expressed her appreciation for the work to all involved.
We wouldn't like to see all the work wasted, so we're calling for everyone who goes there to respect the dunes, the fencing, avoid walking and report quadbiking (which is illegal) to Gardai (051 391620), Waterford County Council (051 39555) or The Wildlife Ranger (087 8541961).
This was the 3rd collaboration between AOL and IWT Waterford Branch, which has seen some useful voluntary work completed and there are plans to do more in July. We are also looking at the possiblity of setting up a regular conservation group to keep up the work on the dunes and other areas. For information, email Marie - marpower@eircom.net
If you are interested in doing some practical conservation further afield, and perhaps taking an active summer holiday, 2 volunteering options are:
In Killarney Woods, clearing Rhodedendron - 1 week June, July or August (www.groundwork.ie or www.iwt.ie) or on Clare Island, clearing Gunnera - 2 weeks - last week August and 1st week September.
Thanks to Sandra, from Dublin's Volunteer Group - the Grubby Gang - for these photos.

Climate Change Talk

Friends of the Earth will be holding a free multimedia talk on climate change presented by Gavin Harte in the Garter Lane Arts Centre in Waterford at 7.30pm on Tuesday 12th May. The talk is called "The Big Ask: Can we stop climate change?" and they are bringing this free event to Waterford as part of a nationwide tour.
The Big Ask Tour is an exciting mix of photographs, video clips, and animations which documents the enormous influence human activity is having on our planets climate, the serious impacts these are likely to have on all of us and what we can do about it.
For more information visit the Friends of the Earth website www.foe.ie or call 01-6394652

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Appeal to Land Managers to Save our Hedgerows

Press Release from HQ
22nd April 2009

Appeal to Land Managers to Save our Hedgerows

The Irish Wildlife Trust are highlighting the issue of illegal hedgerow cutting that typically starts around now and continues well into the summer months. Unless for reasons of health and safety this practice is in contravention of section 40 of the 1976 Wildlife Act, as amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife Amendment Act, 2000, which prohibits hedge cutting from March 1st to August 31st each year.

Despite this, County Councils and land managers seems only to address the issue of hedge cutting during these months. Either they are unaware that they are breaking the law and causing tremendous environmental damage or simply don’t care.

Since Ireland was deforested in the middle ages the only natural features in many parts of the countryside are the hedgerows. Without them, as in much of the UK and mainland Europe, the landscape would be barren.The hedgerows support a wealth of species that once found home in the oak forests such as badgers, owls, hedgehogs, stoats, blackbirds and innumerable plants, butterflies and other insects. Not only are they an invaluable reserve for much of our wildlife they are important in providing pollinators, cleaning our air, defining our landscape, storing carbon and by holding back the flow of water off land they can alleviate flooding.

In spite of all these benefits, the Irish hedgerow is suffering ‘death by a thousand cuts’. They are frequently mismanaged, flayed to within an inch of their existence, or simply removed during the construction of one-off houses and replaced with invasive alien cherry laurel – a plant of no value to wildlife. Commented Padraic Fogarty - IWT Chairperson.

Minister Gormley has highlighted this issue to Local Authorities and has promised to prosecute those who have been shown to have broken the law. The IWT would like to support him in this commitment and we are currently undertaking a campaign to report all instances of hedge cutting between now and the end of August to his office, as well as the relevant Local Authority and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

We are appealing to the public to report such instances to us by logging onto www.iwt.ie or emailing: enquiries@iwt.ie and sending the date, time and location of the hedge cutting incident to us and where possible a photograph and name of person or organisation involved. The future of Ireland’s hedgerows is in your hands.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Moving the goalposts

Heres one about the pavement that was upgraded and during that action, it was discovered that the wall was unstable and might fall!!! Anybody who observed the wall between the Dunmore road and Viewpoint could have pointed this fact out to the City Council godfathers years ago.

What to do? Move the wall and widen the road? Remove most of the vegetation and plant a new hedge? Leave things alone.....let nature take its course?
The pictures below tell the story.





















Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Identification and Field Skills


The National Biodiversity Data Centre is hosting a programme of workshops to improve identification and field skills of biological groups and raise standards of data collection and management.
Please see the link below for further information.
Biodiversity Ireland

Best Uses of Seaweed from Marie



Using Seaweed

Cooking
Seaweed must be dried within a day or two of harvesting. Drip dry over a covered clothesline out of sunlight. Or over stove. Or in hot press. Not necessary to rinse in fresh water, unless you are avoiding salt. Except in the case of Slouchan – purple laver / sea lettuce, which needs lots of rinsing to remove sand etc.
Stock
Briefly rinse, then soak kelp (2 x 6 inch pieces) overnight. Add to 3L water with parsley stalks, bouquet garni, few porcini mushrooms. Boil for 15 - 40 mins or longer. Strain. Use in combination with your normal stock initially at least.
Kelp (Oarweed / Kombu) can be used again e.g. for tendersing beans. Compost it when finished.

Condiment
Briefly toast and grind in pestle and mortar: Dilisk, Alaria, Bladderwrack, Channelwrack, Sugar Kelp, Sloughan (Purple laver/Nori). Mix all or some of these and use sprinkled on poached eggs, soup, salsa, salad. This will give you full spectrum of trace elements, minerals and vitamins. Add Alaria to rice like this for a “chickeny” flavour.

Crisps
Put 1-2 inch pieces of Sugar Kelp, Kelp or Dilisk in a hot oven until they crisp –3-5 mins. Sugar kelp and kelp are very high in iodine, and should only be eaten very occasionally.
Salads: Sea spaghetti (Thong weed) and Alaria (Winged Kelp/Wakame) can be marinated and added to salads.
  • Sea spaghetti. First soak in water for an hour. Rinse, then marinate in lemon juice and balsamic vinegar for a few hours of overnight. Chop and add to salads – especially nice with grated carrot salad, dressed with a lemon/mustard/olive oil/garlic dressing
  • Alaria (winged kelp) Soak 1 cupful / or 2 * 6 inch pieces dried) in tepid water for 20 mins. Saute for 1 min : 1 tbsp soy sauce; 3 garlic cloves; 2 tsp honey; 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 tsp grated ginger. Add the Alaria and little soak water, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 mins, until the mid-rib is soft.. Add soak water if needed. Remove from heat and add a dash of sesame oil and more honey if needed. Serve mixed gently through salads or as a side dish with grains.
You can make pesto, salsa, pate, pasta, breads, scones, mousse, carrot cake and even ice cream with seaweeds. Watch out for a new Seaweed Cookery book by Dr. Prannie Rhatigan with recipes for these and more.
In the meantime, to get you started here are 2 of yesterday’s recipes. The soup was Butternut squash, but you could use the stock for any soup.

Cheese and Dilisk Scones
(from Dr. Prannie Rhatigan, Sligo, with thanks)
Ingredients
Method
40g / 2 ozs dried dilisk, toasted and crumbled
Olive oil for frying
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
1lb plain flour or white spelt
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 level tsp baking powder
2 level tsp mustard powder
¼-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
85g/ 3 oz butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
227ml/ 8fl oz milk
85g/ 3 oz grated strong cheese or hard goats cheese
25g / 1 oz strong cheddar/ smoked cheese/ Parmesan for sprinkling
Dry dilisk in hot oven for 2-3 mins, or in a cool AGA overnight. Crumble into flakes when cool enough to handle
Preheat oven to 210 c / 410 f/ Lightly grease 2 baking trays.
Fry onions and garlic till soft, mix in crumbled dilisk towards end and allow to cool.
Sift flour, BP and C of T into a bowl. Stir in mustard and cayenne. Dice and rub in butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add almost all egg/milk in a well in centre and mix gently. Stir in cheese along with cooled onion/dilisk mixture. (I prefer to add all these before the egg/milk).
Turn dough onto floured surface and flatten or roll to just over 1” thick. Stamp out scones, brush with reserved milk/egg mixture and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 12- 15 mins.

Hilary’s Chocolate Carragheen with Irish Coffee Sauce


(Ask your diners to guess the ingredient AFTER they’ve tasted it!)

Ingredients
Method
600ml / 1pt. Milk
20g / ¾ oz carragheen moss
250g / 9 oz caster sugar
115 / 4 oz plain chocolate
2.5ml / ½ tsp groundnut oil (for oiling cups)
90 ml / 6 tbsp water
250 ml / 8 fl oz strong coffee
15ml / 1 tbsp Irish Whiskey
grated chocolate and lightly whipped cream to serve
Put milk carragheen and 1oz/25g sugar in saucepan and bring to boil. Then simmer for 15 mins. Chop chocolate into small pieces or grate, remove milk etc. from heat and stir in chocloate until melted. Strain this mixture. Lightly oil 4 teacups, pour in choc. Carragheen and chill until set.
Heat rest of sugar and water gently in heavy based saucepan until sugar dissolves and reaches pale syrup stage. Pour in coffee & stir over gentle heat until smooth. Remove from heat, cool and add whiskey. Leave to cool.
Invert each mousse onto a plate and pour sauce around. Decorate with grated choc. And cream.
Skin Care
Use bunch of Fucus Serratus or Bladderwrack in your bath to soften and refresh skin.
Rinse seaweed in seawater and remove all living creatures. Place in bath and our very hot water over. Fill bath as normal, and soak for as long as you can! Compost seaweed afterwards
Gardening
Use Kelp (Oarweed) to improve soil condition and nutrients. October: Wash in fresh water, then shred and place on soil. Fork it in. Or lay on top of soil and cover with black plastic until ready for spring planting.
Use as “collar” / mulch around plants to keep slugs away. Add rinsed seaweed to your compost to activate.
Harvesting
Observe safety when collecting on rocks. Start one hour before low tide and keep facing the sea. Wear strong slip-proof and waterproof footwear. Only take what you need. Cut off a piece of the frond (“leaves”) rather than pulling the whole plant from the rocks. Remember, lots of other species need the seaweed to live on! Pick from areas you know to have clean water.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oilspill Nears Coast?

Press Release

Feb 27th, 2009

Oil Spill - An Uncoordinated Approach Will Lead to Loss of Wildlife.

In light of the recent oil spill off the south coast of Ireland, the Irish Wildlife Trust have contacted various government departments and Local Authorities to find out what the plan of action is to deal with the oil spill if it reaches the Irish coast. Unfortunately after contacting various departments the lines of action are not clearly defined, a very worrying situation indeed.
The Coastguard in the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources believe the oil slick will not come ashore and currently they are monitoring the slick on a daily basis with helicopters. This is not an exact science and could change over time. A question that is harder to answer is; what happens if oil does come ashore? The oil might not come ashore immediately it might take weeks before the effects are seen. The Coastguard indicated Local Authorities are responsible for clean up operations and should have pollution plans in place. However, we know for instance Waterford County Council among others do not have a pollution plan, so what happens next?
The Coastguard have anti-pollution equipment, including bunds, to boom off oils slicks if it gets close to the shore but it is unclear if this is enough. The equipment is located in Dublin and at local sites and is under the charge of the Coastguard Pollution and Salvage manager but if the slick breaks up, it is not clear how many bays could be boomed off simultaneously as there is no published plan to consult.
In the event of oil reaching the shore the first signs of damage the public would see would be tar balls on beaches or oiled birds. In such circumstances we would advise the public report directly to the Coastguard. LoCall no. 1890 44 9900 and to the local County Council.
‘Our coastal region is invaluable for wildlife and humans alike, species such as seals, whales and dolphins, and coastal colonies of sea birds depend on a clean environment to survive,’ commented Padraic Fogarty (IWT Chairperson).
The south of Ireland holds many Special Areas of Conservation such as the Tramore Backstrand, Bannow Bay and Clonakilty Bay to name a few, not mention Special Protection areas for birds like the Saltee Islands 4 kilometres off the coast of Wexford. In this time of economic uncertainty the impact that this spill could have on our fisheries would be disastrous and have a serious impact on the livelihood of many involved in fisheries.
Even if the oil spill does not reach the Irish shores, there is still a serious need for relevant authorities to work together with a coordinated approach involving communities to help protect our beautiful coastal wildlife in the future.

Contact:
For further information please contact Joanne Pender
IWT Development Officer Ph: 01 860 2839 or E-mail: enquiries@iwt.ie



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rare Waterford Native Tree's Homecoming

Did you know that there is a rare type of oak that is native to Waterford? The Fennessy's Oak was first grown in Fennessy's Nursery in the town land of Grange in the 1820s.
Check out the Waterford Today newspaper website.

Just a random oak tree!

National Tree Week

National Tree Week
March 1st to March 7th 2009

It’s the time of the year again with Springtime on the horizon, that we think again about the leaves appearing on the trees, flowers blooming in the gardens and parks of Co. Waterford and the National Trees Council’s National Tree Week in association with Waterford County Council..

This year, Waterford County Council have been fortunate enough to receive an allocation of Trees for distribution to Schools, Community Groups and Residents Associations. As per previous years, a selection of species will be available including ash, rowan, common beech, copper beech, hazel, common birch and pedunculate oak

Trees are recognised as one of the essential parts of our environment for the role they play in cleaning air, preventing the build-up of greenhouse gases, providing renewable energy and materials for building, furniture and all the wooden items that form part of our everyday life, including the paper we read. Trees also play an essential role in providing habitats for thousands of plants and animals and are important for soil stabilisation. They are also a major contributor to our economy. This year the National Trees Council want to emphasize the role of trees in our culture whether in art, literature, poetry, history, legends, etc… the National Trees Council are compiling a guide of all the events taking place all over the country. The guide will be distributed to all primary schools and our members and will be available from sponsor outlets, O2 and Coillte. It will also be posted on their website, www.treecouncil.ie.

As supplies will be limited, Waterford Co. Co. will do its best to get as many trees to as many groups as possible. However, please be aware that you need to contact Kevin Moynihan at the details below to register your groups’ interest in receiving trees. Act now to avoid disappointment.

In his role as Waterford County Council’s Environment Education & Awareness Officer, Kevin Moynihan can offer advice of a practical nature in relation to Energy Conservation, Water Conservation, Litter/Waste and any other general Environment queries that you may have. Do not hesitate to contact him on the numbers and details below.

For further information please contact Kevin Moynihan, Environment Education & Awareness Officer on 058 22040 or email kmoynihan@waterfordcoco.ie alternatively contact The Environment Section, Waterford County Council, Civic Offices, Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Email: environmentinfo@waterfordcoco.ie Web: www.waterfordcoco.ie

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Garrarus Resort Clears First Hurdle!


Waterford News and Star devotes page 3 not to skimpily clad girls but to the news that:
€150 million golf resort clears first planning hurdle
. On the same page,
Residents believe plan is screen for housing
.
P12 of the Munster Express also leads with
Council grants permission for Garrarus resort
.

For more information check out the website of Garrarus & District Concerned Residents (GDCR).

Cheekpoint Outing, 22nd February


The IWT February event will take place on the 22nd February at Cheekpoint/Faithlegg. The meeting place is at Faithlegg National School at 2.30pm. The walk will be led by Ray McGrath and will be approximately 2 hours. It will take in the seashore, woods, and SAC.
This is an easy walk and the event is family friendly.
Please note that the above map is not the actual route but just an idea of the area.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Clams, Mussels and Whelks

Clams, mussels and whelks are part of the Life in a Shell exhibition at Ardkeen Library during January and February. it outlines the biodiversity of sea shells, their evolution, habitats and identifies key points such as natural heritage and conservation.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Knockaderry Outing 25/01/09

The Irish Wildlife Trust invite you to join them on a walk at Knockaderry Reservoir on Sunday, January 25th.
Meet at the reservoir at 2pm or carpool from Woodies carpark , Waterford at 1.30pm.
The walk is about 5km along roads and so is easily accessible. It borders the lake in a few places, affording a good view of the wild birds, so bring your binoculars.
Knockaderry Reservoir can be reached from the N25 - from city, turn left at the Sweep towards Dunhill and follow the signs - Reservoir is about 2 km from the Sweep.