New chapter of the rehabilitation works of the saved jewel of Laois

Another chapter has opened on the rehabilitation of a raised bog in Laois that was saved from Bord na Móna over 20 years ago.

More than two decades after the intervention of local people well ahead of their time, the Abbeyleix bog has become the prototype project for successful community-centred conservation.

Not resting on its laurels, or rather on its sphagnum moss in this case, the Abbeyleix bog project continues to grow not only in terms of public awareness and popularity, but also in terms of restoring what has been previously damaged by cutting.

Instead of peat harvesting machines, a laborer has moved around the bog in recent weeks with a backhoe to help the volunteer committee carry out rehabilitation work on more of the popular amenity.

The bog, which is also a popular sanctuary for walkers and nature lovers, will remain open to visitors during these final phases of work, involving the construction of ridges or berms, peat damming devices to aid rewetting sectional bog at the periphery of the main raised bog.

Pictured: Project volunteers at work maintaining and upgrading the amenity infrastructure over the past two years.

The Panel affirms that this intervention on the cross-section and supporting hydrology will help support the restoration of the central bog and protect the habitat and its sustainability in general.

This latest phase of work is being funded by a €75,000 grant from the Peatland Community Engagement Scheme, which to some extent is recognition of the substantial progress and benefits demonstrated at the bog site, over the past decade in particular. .

The work, which is expected to take approximately one month, is being carried out by G Russell Plant Hire of Clonaslee, with civil engineering supervision from RPS Ireland. MORE IMAGE BELOW.

Pictured: Researchers from University College Dublin CD and Technical University of the South East (TUSE) discuss a midge and mosquito trapping site at the Abbeyleix Bog site with volunteers earlier This year. From left to right: Elsie Isiye (TUSE), Dr Denise O’Meara (TUSE), Angela Valcercel Olmeda (UCD) Prof Theo de Waal (UCD), Richard Duff, Des Finnamore and Hugh Shepherd.

The work is part of the ongoing effort to see the bog landscape restored, habitat reclaimed and restored. The gas nature reserve becomes a habitat for countless species and a recreation reserve for walkers and nature lovers of all ages.

This latest round of funding represents confirmation and recognition of the prestige and importance of the Abbeyleix bog, not only nationally, but in the wider context of EU conservation and carbon emissions.

So much so that the peat bog of Abbeyleix has been selected as a “knowledge site”, a prototype of good practice in community collaborative projects within the EU Horizon 2020 WaterLANDS projects.

Pictured: A beautiful damselfish damselfish (Calopterix virgo) frequenting the small streams around the Abbeyleix bog site

Garry Luttrell, director, is the interim president of the Abbeyleix Bog project.

“This is a really important milestone for the peat bog and for those of us connected to the project. The work brings renewed enthusiasm and drive to further rehabilitate our peat habitats, which is hugely positive as far as the climate action, for biodiversity and community,” he said. said.

Pictured: The Marsh Fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia), Ireland’s only protected insect, is now breeding at the site following ongoing conservation work at Abbeyleix Bog

Chris Uys is the technical advisory group for the Abbeyleix Bog project.

“This would not have been possible without the help, contribution, support and collaboration of all our stakeholders, volunteers and the local community. We hope this will be just the start of a new era in which community-led projects will benefit from financial support and stakeholder expertise to improve our natural environment,” he said.

Pictured: A seven-spotted ladybug (Coccinella 7-punctata) nestled in the unrolled leaves of a Bracken plant

Announcing funding of €75,000 in August, under the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s Bogs Community Engagement Scheme, Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan said that he was thrilled to support active and determined community and volunteer groups like Abbeyleix Bog Project in their efforts to embrace and enhance nature and biodiversity.

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