Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Questions (592, 593)

Imelda Munster

Question:

592. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 750 of 11 June 2019, the sites where the four enhancement proposals are to be tested in advance; the bodies (details supplied) proposing the enhancements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26454/19]

View answer

Imelda Munster

Question:

593. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment further to Parliamentary Question No. 750 of 11 June 2019, the details of the work elements that will assist in all waters attaining good ecological status by a specified date as per the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26455/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 592 and 593 together.

As outlined in the response to Question No. 750 of 11 June, the Environmental River Enhancement Programme (EREP) undertaken by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), is driven by the EU Water Framework Directive and its requirement that status of all water-bodies should be at least “GOOD”.

The EREP is undertaken by IFI's Research and Development Division and is an applied scientific study. In its maintenance of some 2,000 kms of channel each year, OPW is assisted by environmental guidance, developed with IFI. Some of the guidance is conservation driven and some has value added for habitat creation and river enhancement. OPW and IFI have undertaken experimental strategies to change the channel bed using the OPW digging plant. The drainage process tended to make the channel bed very uniform from side to side and in an upstream - downstream direction. The experimental diggings have changed the shape of the channel cross-sections, creating a more diverse habitat, reducing the growth of nuisance vegetation and creating deeper water areas for trout.

In addition, the over-digging or deepening of the channel bed locally to make deep pools and the spread of the spoil in another area of the channel bed is intended to make shallow areas. This physical diversity can create or help to facilitate biological diversity, including shallow riffle habitat for juvenile salmon, trout, eel and other species and deeper pools for adult fish. These works are completed as part of the OPW drained channel maintenance programme.

River enhancement within the terms of the Water Framework Directive emphasises restoration of natural river processes. One outcome of the Directive and its impact on EREP is that OPW and IFI have agreed that any proposed 'enhancement' measure should be tested in advance to assess current status of fish and habitat. Four such enhancement proposals are to be so tested in 2019 with surveys of fish and habitat status scheduled. These four sites are set out in the table below;

Site Location

NSAD Applicant

River Deel (downstream of Raharney)

Boyne Catchment Angling Association

Trimblestown (downstream of Athboy)

Trim Athboy Angling Association – Part 1

Boycetown at Scurlockstown

Trim Athboy Anglers Association – Part 2

Kells Blackwater Carnaross

Kells Anglers

The IFI Projects Management Office has requested their Research Division to survey these sites as part of the EREP. They relate to projects submitted under the National Strategy for Angling Development by the organisations named above.

If the Deputy has any specific query in relation to any of these sites I would be happy to ask IFI to contact her.

Question No. 594 answered with Question No. 575.