On Sunday 9th August 2020, a group from the Strabane/Lifford area travelled to Inishowen to chat about all things riverine. The group have come together to discover, explore and protect their diverse region for the benefit of environmental protection and the IRT were delighted to welcome them to Inishowen.
The first stop for the group was on the Bredagh River in the grounds of Moville Boutique Hostel. The IRT outlined how the Trust formed and the kind of projects the Trust is currently involved with. The importance of collaboration was highlighted and how working together we are better placed to achieve our goals of enhancing our rivers, improving water quality and providing recreational opportunities for all users. Damien Devine from the Dennett Anglers said, “Partnership is key to developing projects on the ground. We have ideas in formation and it was great to hear how the Inishowen Rivers Trust are working with different groups and agencies to run successful projects.” Following a tour of the Bredagh, and plenty of chat over lunch about fish, the group headed to the Culdaff River to view a river bank enhancement project.
On the banks of the Culdaff River, the group was met by Ciarán McGonigle, Trust director and member of the Culdaff Community Angling Association. In 2017 the Culdaff Anglers invited the Wild Trout Trust to Culdaff to advise on possible enhancement projects for the river. Following on from this a bank restoration project took place in 2018 and further work by the Loughs Agency has helped to protect banks with fencing, water pumps for cattle, tree planting and revetment works (repairing and supporting eroding banks). Two years on from the revetment works, Ciarán was able to discuss how the works have allowed the bank to repair and highlight the overall ecological improvements. He explained, “The bank was repaired using a supporting wall of brash (cut willow and spruce) that has been carefully positioned to trap sediment coming from upstream. This allows the bank to repair and we can see new growth with willow and grass colonising the wall of brash. It also means there is improved habitat for fish as well as water quality benefits.“
By the end of the day, the groups had discussed many ideas and plan to meet again in the near future. “Events like this really help to inspire us all” said IRT Chairperson Claire Thompson. “We’ve come away with renewed energy, having met new folk and made new links. This is all possible because of a positive approach to coming together – our directors and volunteers, the landowners, the anglers and the agencies. And what a great way to spend a Sunday by the river!”
The Riverine Environmental Project is funded by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The Culdaff Bank Restoration project was funded by the Local Authorities Waters Programme.