Task Force Review of National Biodiversity Data Centre


Request for access to information held by The Heritage Council relating to “Agendas/minutes of meetings, and copies of reports produced by or for the Task Force Review of NDBC in 2021-22

Note: April 9th, 2021 meeting

Presentation from the Managing Director of Compass Informatics – Gearoid O’Riain

The presentation outlined detail in the following areas:

  • Potential Vision for the National Biodiversity Data Centre
  • What has been done so far
  • Information on the skilled teams
  • Opportunities and Challenges
  • Detail on multiple overlapping projects
  • Components
  • Association and Branding
  • Agri Biodiversity Evidence team
  • Biodiversity Evidence team – for EPA
  • Marine Biodiversity Evidence Team
  • Biodiversity Education & Awareness Team

V. Teehan gave an update on the concept document she produced based on advice from Council’s legal advisers following the agreement at the last meeting that a company by guarantee would be the best way forward.

The process would involve seeking Government approval for the establishment of a Company Limited by Guarantee for the purposes of collecting and recording of biodiversity data

If Government approval is given to the proposed approach, then the Taskforce could proceed to determine the recommended composition of the first Board of the new Company as well as the proposed Constitution, Memorandum and Articles of Association and details of governance and proposed staffing arrangements, etc. The detailed recommendations would also require Government approval.

Concept document

C. Ryan would seek advice within the Department and revert back to the Chairperson and V. Teehan with a briefing note prior to the next meeting

Comparative Terms of Reference document from Atlas of Living Australia

2 June 2021 Meeting


Operating Agreement and the Articles of Association

Over the period 2017-2019, the Heritage Council examined the financial governance, contract management and overall administration of the programme. In 2019 The Heritage Council commissioned an independent review of the governance
structures of the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The review was conducted by Crowe Ireland.

That one of the recommendations from the review was the establishment of the taskforce to oversee the implementation of the recommendations. The taskforce will report back to the Board of the Heritage Council on a regular basis. The CEO informed the committee that it is her intention to establish quarterly meetings with the NBDC to track progress on the KPIs as outline in the Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Gearoid O’Riain. The presentation outlined detail in the following areas:
– Potential Vision for the National Biodiversity Data Centre
– What has been done so far
– Information on the skilled teams
– Opportunities and Challenges
– Detail on multiple overlapping projects
– Components

– Association and Branding
– Agri Biodiversity Evidence team
– Biodiversity Evidence team – for EPA

Note: the preparatory work circulated for this meeting

That D. Hobern and P. Greene briefed the committee on the application of lessons from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and other biodiversity initiatives at an international level to the future needs and direction for the NBDC.

Preparation of high level confidential interim report to go to the Heritage Council Board on June 24th outlining the recommended approach of the taskforce

Schedule a workplan for the detail issues in second half of this year

V. Teehan presented the team with the draft Interim Report she produced for discussion and approval today for the Heritage Council Board meeting on June 24th

Hugh Sullivan presented the draft transition interim plan under the following headings

  • Introduction
  • Due Diligence
  • Compass Informatics Exit Strategy
  • Business Continuity Planning
  • Next Steps  

Internal Review on AIE_2022_02

NPWS requirements for NBDC

NBDC and lessons from the international context

National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) Contract

The objective of this programme is to maintain, develop and provide public access to the central repository of biological records in Ireland currently known as the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

The repository holds over 4.3 million records covering 16,000 species from 147 data sets. Its core function is to collate and validate data (gathered from a wide range of sources) on Ireland’s biodiversity to document our wildlife resource and to track change over time. The scope of its work includes species and habitat information relating to the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environment.

In addition to its core function as a repository, the programme provides coordination of data collection and recording, and assists in the mainstreaming of biodiversity data and information into many areas of life in Ireland including planning, conservation management and research. There is a citizen science biodiversity network of more than 8000 recorders who submit records for inclusion in the repository.

A state-of-the-art bioinformatics infrastructure and a biodiversity data and mapping portal have been developed.

In addition, the to the core repository functions, the programme coordinates the implementation of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-20. This plan engages organisations across the Ireland of Ireland including government, NGOs, business, local authorities, and communities

Camera Trapping for Otters

Selected papers

Notes on trailcam setup and placement

Otter eye level is 25-30cm Keep camera  height as standard as possible, e.g. 50cm with a slight angle down but the same 50% sky 50% ground on the screen

Two camera trap sites cannot be closer than 500m or further than 5000m from the next site

Camera trap is set to photo mode only with 3 photos per trigger.

Camera trap time is set to local summer time, with daylight savings settings off.

The SD card and internal photo-stamp of the camera trap are the same number.

The camera trap is placed inside the grid cell, at an appropriate location, unbaited

The camera trap should optimally face north (+/- 15 degrees)

The camera trap test function should detect movement at a distance of 8m.

There should be no large obstructions or blind spots in front of the camera trap

Members of the National Biodiversity Forum

Name Organisation
Tasman Crowe (Chair) UCD
Simon Berrow Irish Whale & Dolphin Group
Séamus Boland Irish Rural Link
Ken Bradley Department of Agriculture, Environment and
Rural Affairs of Northern Ireland
Noeleen Smyth UCD
Padraic Fogarty Irish Wildlife Trust (Environmental Pillar nominee)
Paul Giller UCC Academic
Janice Fuller Coillte
Elaine McGoff An Taisce (Environmental Pillar nominee)
James Moran GMIT
Aebhinn Cawley Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental
Mark McCauley IBEC
Oonagh Duggan BirdWatch Ireland
Siobhán Ryan Heritage Officer, Sligo
Anne Murray Biodiversity Officer, DLR
John Butler FACE Ireland / NARGC
Dr Christoph Schwitzer Dublin Zoo

Members of the Biodiversity Working Group

Name Department/ Organisation

Katharine Duff Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Ted Massey Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Hannah Denniston Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Niall Ryan Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Colin O’Hehir Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications
Anne Murray Department of Education
Colin Byrne Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
David Flynn Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Brian O’Malley Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Denis McGowan Department of Rural and Community Development
Paul Greene An Garda Síochána
Tadhg O’Mahony Environmental Protection Agency
Cathal Gallagher Inland Fisheries Ireland
Brian Deegan Irish Water
Maurice Clarke Marine Institute
Liam Lysaght National Biodiversity Data Centre
Colin Kelleher Office of Public Works
Tony Brew Office of Public Works
Margaret Gormley Office of Public Works
Catherine Keena Teagasc
Lorcán Scott Heritage Council
Mark McCorry Bord Na Móna
David Joyce CCMA
Martin Wall Department of Foreign Affairs
Sylvie Clappe CSO
Tas Crowe UCD – Chair of Biodiversity Forum
Caoimhin O’Ciaruain Dept. of Transport
Deirdre Lynn NPWS
Andy Bleasdale NPWS
Claire Cooper NPWS
Dermot McGreal NPWS