IRD Duhallow submitted a comprehensive application and was subsequently selected by the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to implement a new €1.46 million European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-Agri). The five-year project is entitled the Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchments. It will develop a cost effective community led strategy to restoring and protecting the high ecological status of the Allow River catchment, including the Rivers
Dalua, Owenare and other tributaries and streams.
By engaging with the farming community in the river catchment the project will protect and restore the high ecological status of the catchment through an innovative results based payments scheme. Working closely with farmers in the catchment the
results based scheme will reward sustainable agricultural practices which enhance wetland and freshwater ecosystems. In addition, a network of demonstration farms will be established as case studies of best practice in farming for high status rivers.
Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchments EIP Key Points
- €1.4 million European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-Agri).
- The five-year project is entitled Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchments Project.
- It will develop a cost effective community led strategy to restoring and protecting the high status of the Allow River catchment.
- Engaging further with the community the project will protect and restore the ecological status of the Rivers Allow, Dalua & Owenanare through an innovative results based payments scheme.
- Working closely with farmers in the catchment the results based scheme will reward sustainable agricultural practices which enhance wetland and freshwater ecosystem services.
- The river catchment is of high conservation value and supports a wide variety of rare and protected habitats and wildlife. In recognition of this it has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation for the protection of otter, freshwater pearl mussel, lamprey, salmon and other important fish species.
- The rivers have been the subject of extensive work as part of IRD Duhallow Life Programmes. The new Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchment Project will build on the success of SAMOK Life, bringing a source of economic growth to the region while simultaneously improving the quality of the natural environment for all.
Why the Allow-Dalua catchment?
The catchment is of high conservation value and supports a wide variety of rare and protected habitats and wildlife. In recognition of this it has been designated as an E.U Special Area of Conservation for the protection of otter, freshwater pearl mussel, lamprey, salmon and other important species. However, in recent years threats to the integrity of the ecosystem have been identified, including a decline in water quality. Key threats to the status of the catchment include pressures from forestry, agriculture and industry. Ireland is obliged to maintain the high status of its rivers and a portion of the Allow catchment has been selected as a “Priority Area for Action”. If immediate action is taken the high status of the catchment can be protected and restored.
What are Blue Dot Catchments?
The Blue Dot Catchment programme has been suggested by the Irish Government as a means of encouraging local communities to manage their rivers in a sustainable way. The Blue Dot standard will certify the quality and status of rivers, streams and lakes. The Blue Dot programme has not yet been trialled and the Duhallow Blue Dot project will serve as a pilot scheme through which innovative techniques for the improvement of the river will be established and implemented by the farming community.
Results Based Actions & Payments for Participating Farmers.
The project aims to address the pressures of agriculture through the:
(1) reduction of pollutant generation through nutrient and livestock management,
(2) stopping mobile pollutants reaching the river and
(3) restoring degraded habitats.
Appropriate actions will be designed based on consultation with each farmer, and farm specific plans will be put in place. Participating farmers will select a number of actions designed to enhance the river ecosystem and will be financially rewarded to reflect
the success of their actions. The project will continue for a duration of five years with a target of 100 farmers participating in the programme.
Achievements to date
IRD Duhallow has assembled a team of environmental scientists, agricultural advisors and community development officers to work on the Duhallow Blue Dot project. We have commenced consulting with farmers in the catchment, and it is hoped that as many farmers as possible within the catchment will provide input, critical to the best design of the project. A number of public consultation meetings will also be held during the design phase. Informed by the public consultation process the project operational strategies will be developed.
Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Upcoming Project Launch
If you farm within the catchments of the Allow, Dalua and their tributaries, we would love to hear from you. We look forward to developing the project with you over the next five years.