BLACKWATER SAMOK - Restoration of the Upper River Blackwater SAC for the Freshwater Pearl Mussel, Atlantic Salmon, European Otter and Kingfisher

LIFE09 NAT/IE/000220

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Fran IGOE
Tel: +353 29 60633
Fax: +353 29 60694
Email: duhallow@eircom.net

Project description:


The River Allow catchment forms part of the Upper Blackwater River Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The site is important for a number of species including the kingfisher, freshwater pearl mussel, Atlantic salmon and European otter. The conservation status of the site has come increasingly under pressure and agricultural practices over recent times have led to increased nutrient enrichment and pollution while channel degradation and siltation have been caused by major river modification works which date back to the 1850s. Significant threats to the site and its species also come from years of decline of the riparian areas of the river. Examples of this include the spread of invasive plants (in particular Himalayan balsam), and overgrown bank vegetation causing excessive shade for the river. These issues, if left unchecked, will have serious repercussions on native vegetation, river bank stability, sedimentation of spawning beds and ultimately on the habitat and food sources of the pearl mussel, salmon, otter and kingfisher.


The main purpose of the LIFE Nature project is to bring about a sustained enhancement of the Upper Blackwater SAC by targeting the freshwater pearl mussel, Atlantic salmon, European otter and kingfisher. More specifically this will be achieved by carrying out actions aimed at restoring the quality of the river bed and riparian zone.

Expected results:

  • Halt excessive siltation of 40km of pearl mussel and salmon (freshwater) habitat by restoring riparian areas vulnerable to erosion from unsustainable agricultural practices. This will include 0.44 km of bank protection works; 6.46 km of pruning and coppicing; 6.84 km of planting of exposed riverbank areas; 6.0 km of Himalayan balsam removal; and provision of silt traps and constructed wetland in afforested areas where needed;
  • Improve otter habitat over 27 km through installation of 10 otter holts and holding areas;
  • Provide 12 kingfisher nesting areas; (and 10 dipper nesting areas);
  • Develop guidelines for the management of riparian zones for otter and kingfisher (and dippers) in riverine SACs including water quality management for adjacent farms;
  • Produce a habitat restoration plan for the tributaries of the Upper Blackwater, and one habitat restoration plan for the main Blackwater River. Also produce one overall plan for the future management of the Upper Blackwater SAC;
  • Raise community awareness to improve public support and understanding for the project and its objective. This will comprise initiatives including a media campaign and a range of publications and signage. In addition, 10 public and community training workshops and eight educational lectures will be held. Visits will be made to all 36 schools in the catchment area and an online ‘schools species recording project’ will be established through the project website.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Freshwater


protected area‚  river‚  rural area‚  wetland‚  restoration measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Alcedo atthis   Lutra lutra   Margaritifera margaritifera   Salmo salar     

Natura 2000 sites

SCI IE0002170 Blackwater River (Cork/Waterford)



Coordinator Integrated Resource DevelopmentDuhallow Ltd.
Type of organisation Development agency
Description Integrated Resource Development is a community-based company involved with implementing rural regeneration and sustainable development initiatives.
Partners Southern Regional Fisheries Board, Ireland


Project reference LIFE09 NAT/IE/000220
Duration 01-SEP-2010 to 23-JUN -2015
Total budget 1,995,826.00 €
EU contribution 935,650.00 €
Project location South West (IRL)(Ireland)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Project web site - 2 Project's Facebook page
Video link "IRD Duhallow LIFE Project" (20')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version