The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) provides the legislative and policy framework for the conservation of nature and biodiversity in Ireland. It also oversees its implementation, based on good science, with particular emphasis on the protection of habitats and species.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage manages the Irish State’s nature conservation responsibilities under national and European law. A particular responsibility of the NPWS is the designation and protection of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). NPWS and Intel Corporation are currently collaborating on an ecological restoration project on Liffey Head blanket bog in the Wicklow Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC), which is part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park (WMNP).
The WMNP covers an area of 20,000 ha and most of the Park is designated as a SAC and Special Protection Area (SPA) under the European Union (EU) Habitats and Birds Directives respectively. The SAC includes a deep upland blanket system known as the Liffeyhead blanket bog that is one of best remaining areas of mountain blanket bog in eastern Ireland, with important flora and fauna and an extensive system of bog pools. Areas of this headwater bog have suffered drainage and desiccation and thus require rewetting by drain blocking and other measures to raise the lowered water levels to allow recovery of bog ecology.
The NPWS-Intel project has been ongoing since 2021, and is focused on c. 60 Ha of degraded blanket bog, in an area that straddles the Military Road between Kippure Mountain and Sally Gap (the pilot area). A number of field investigations (hydrology, geophysics/geotechnical, ecological, greenhouse gas emissions) have been conducted and the baseline conditions of the identified restoration area have been established.