Freshwater Pearl Mussel: site-specific conservation objectives (SSCOs)

To date (as of Jan 2022), freshwater pearl mussel SSCOs have been published for just four SACs

Unclear why these sites are not the sites covered by the 8 sites within the FPM Project

Sub-Basin Management Plans

In response to a European Court of Justice case C-282/02 under the Dangerous Substance Directive,

Ireland put in place the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Freshwater Pearl Mussel)

Regulations 2009 (S.I.296 of 2009). These set out legally binding objectives for water quality in those

rivers inhabited by FPM and designated as SACs for the species, and require that the necessary steps

to reach those objectives are taken. S.I.296 also stipulates the following:

 investigation and monitoring within each of the relevant 27 river sub-basins to establish baseline

conditions and threats and pressures to FPM; the preparation of a programme of measures needed to reach the ecological objectives in each relevant river; and the publication of a management plan for each sub-basin.

These management plans do not appear to exist ?

  • 000197  West of Ardara/Maas Road SAC
  • 002162  River Barrow and River Nore SAC (Nore only)

  • 002165  Lower River Shannon SAC

  • 002170  Blackwater River (Cork/Waterford) SAC

The associated spatial data are available here.  Freshwater pearl mussel SSCOs have been drafted for all other SACs and will be published over time (the list of published SSCOs is here).

These SSCOs, while site-specific, have general application as they utilise standard lists of attributes for each habitat/species and contain useful notes.  All SSCOs are “to restore the favourable conservation condition of the freshwater pearl mussel”.  The freshwater pearl mussel is unique in having environmental objectives established in law (the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Freshwater Pearl Mussel) Regulations, S.I. 296 of 2009).  SSCOs for the species include the attributes and targets established in these Regulations.  They also include additional attributes, such as hydrological regime, and expand upon those contained in the Regulations (e.g. using redox measurement, in addition to siltation levels).  The SSCO attributes are based on monitoring and research, and are detailed in Article 17 and freshwater pearl mussel monitoring reports.

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