Irish Lagoon Surveys 2016 – 2017 – Biodiversity Maps

Dataset Details – Irish Lagoon Surveys 2016 – 2017


Surveys of aquatic fauna carried out by Geoff Oliver and Eddie McCormack 2016-17 in 39 of the coastal lagoons listed by NPWSDate uploaded to database

20/10/2020 Last updated

Purpose of data capture

Part of a survey co-funded by NPWS and EPA to report under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive, 2013 – 2018, and for the purpose of the Water Framework Directive (Aquafact 2018, Volumes I and II).Methods of data capture

Faunal sampling using sweep nets and sediment cores, supplemented by visual searches. Samples were taken to a laboratory for subsequent sorting and identification.Geographical coverage

Surveys conducted by expert taxonomists Dr Geoff Oliver and Dr Eddie McCormac


National Coastal Lagoon Monitoring Programme

Coastal Lagoons are identified in Annex I of the Habitats Directive as a “Priority Habitat” and therefore in need of special protection.

Within Ireland there are twenty-five Special Areas of Conservation which have Coastal Lagoons (1150) as a qualifying interest. Under Article 11 of the Habitats Directive, surveillance of the conservation status of Annex I habitats is required and under Article 17 each member state is obliged to report on this status to the European Commission every six years.

Commencing in 1996 Irish Coastal Lagoons have been systematically sampled.

A comprehensive inventory of eighty-eight coastal lagoons in Ireland has been produced and a classification of Irish lagoons on the basis of their physical, chemical and biological parameters has been developed.

A national programme was most recently completed as part of Coastal Lagoon Monitoring Programme 2016-2017. Using this information, site-specific conservation objectives have been developed for SACs in which coastal lagoon habitat is a qualifying interest.

Each objective has a number of targets to be met in order for the habitat to be in favourable conservation condition.

Forty coastal lagoons have been selected for monitoring between 2023 and 2025 (Table 1); these include thirty-two which are qualifying interests in eighteen SACs, four which are in SACs but are not qualifying interests and four which are not in a Natura 2000 site.

The successful tenderer will be required to undertake a national survey and report on the results of this in the context of the Habitats Directive (Article 11 and Article 17).


  • Survey design, including survey station allocation, will be agreed with NPWS prior to commencement of field work.
  • An image catalogue of all key stages in the survey to be prepared.
  • Development of a suitable database structure for the project.
  • Development of a suitable attribute table for spatial data. NPWS will provide lagoon inventory spatial dataset


This element of the work will be carried out within the period 2023 to 2025 for the lagoons listed in Table 1. Each lagoon requires four field visits (three in summer and one in winter) and it is envisaged that a number of lagoons can be sampled in a day depending on size and adjacency.

For each sampling location, environmental observations should be recorded including:

  • Co-ordinates (Lat/Long & national grid)
  • Sample Code
  • Site Name
  • Date
  • State of the tide
  • Sample photograph (Y/N and reference image label)

Physico-chemical parameters

  • Each lagoon to be sampled for its physico-chemical parameters once in the winter period (November – February) and three times in the summer period (May-September).
  • One station per lagoon is sufficient for all but the larger lagoons
  • The following physico-chemical parameters are to be sampled:
  • Temperature
  • Salinity (including salinity profile where depth exceeds 5m)
  • Hydrological regime (depth maxima and minima between winter and summer)
  • Dissolved inorganic nitrogen (+Ammonia)
  • Molybdate reactive phosphorus (MRP)
  • Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Secchi depth
  • Sampling to follow the standard operating procedures:


  • The condition of the barrier should be noted.
  • Any noticeable changes to the area of the lagoon should be recorded and if possible measured.

Biological parameters

  • Phytoplankton to be sampled once in the winter period (November – February) and three times in the summer period (May-September).
  • The remaining biological elements to be sampled once during the summer period.
  • The number of sampling stations will depend on the size of the lagoon, one to three stations should be sufficient for all but the largest lagoons.
  • The following biological elements are to be sampled:
  • Phytoplankton (biomass (chlorophyll), species composition and abundance)
  • Macrophytes (presence and abundance of benthic vegetation, maximum depth)
  • Angiosperms (presence and spatial distribution of marine angiosperms)
  • Benthic invertebrates (species composition and abundance)
  • The maximum depth of macrophyte colonisation to be assessed using snorkel or diving methods.
  • The presence of negative indicator species should be noted, including an estimated area of coverage, if relevant.
  • Faunal samples to be taken using a net to sweep an area of approximately 25m by 25m and sampling to a depth of up to 1m where possible.
  • Sweep net sampling to be complemented by extracting sediment cores and sieving sediments in situ where possible and by making visual searches of the sample area.
  • Samples are to be preserved in 70% alcohol and stored in the laboratory for subsequent sorting and identification using standard keys.
  • Visual estimates to be made of the location and extent of floating Ulva/Cladophora mats, where they occur.

Typical animal and plant species refer to those listed in the Inventory of Irish Coastal Lagoons (Oliver, 2007).


  • Pressures on a site and any adverse effects of such pressures should be recorded.



At the end of each calendar year a separate report for each of the sites sampled within that year should be furnished. The contents and layout of the reporting format should be agreed with NPWS beforehand.

  1. End of Year Report

This should:

  • Report on the attributes and targets for Lagoons surveyed along with the resulting spatial data.
  • An evaluation of the current conservation condition of Lagoon habitats using must be completed. This should be compared with the site specific conservation objectives.
  • The presence of negative indicators for the community types, habitats and/or sites should be reported on.
  • The observed pressures on the site and any adverse effects of such pressures should be documented.
  • Spatial data should be submitted in the Irish Transverse Mercator (ITM) co-ordinate reference system. Please consult with NPWS with regards to the correct methods for conversion between ITM and Irish Grid.
  • Final Report

This should:

  • Collate all relevant data to enable a National Conservation Status Assessment and audit trail for the Coastal Lagoon Annex I habitat as per Annex 17 of the Habitats Directive. This will form a synthesis of the observed status of lagoons nationally.
  • Report on the conservation condition of the coastal lagoon habitat on a site by site basis, with reference to attributes and targets listed in site-specific conservation objectives and as part of the National Resource. This should reference the previous round of reporting completed as of 2017.  
  • All GIS shapefiles as indicated below.
  • Database populated with all data as indicated above.
  • Imagery of various stages of the fieldwork at a variety of locations.

Complete all contracted tasks in full by 31st October, 2025.

Bathing water quality – review of EU rules

About this consultation

Consultation period

28 October 2021 – 20 January 2022 (midnight Brussels time)

Target audience

All citizens and stakeholders are welcome to express their views – more specifically respondents involved in or affected by the implementation of the bathing water directive: identification of bathing sites and/or monitoring and management of bathing sites and bathing water quality. This would include: EU Member States and their public authorities at national, regional and local level; economic actors such as associations and companies (tourism sector representatives, bathing site operators); water associations at European, national and regional level; international organisations, NGOs, academia, research and innovation organisations and institutes.

Why we are consulting

Since the 1970s, the EU has rules in place to safeguard clean bathing waters. These rules were updated and simplified through the 2006 Bathing Water Directive which, according to the annual reports on the quality of the bathing water, is generally well implemented by Member States. Nevertheless, experience from best practices in some Member States, as well as latest scientific and technological developments point to some areas for possible improvement. Also in light of the European Green Deal, the Directive needs to align with new environmental and climate ambitions. With this consultation, we would like to hear your opinions on the Directive, notably concerning possible shortcomings and issues of emerging concerns both for citizens, health and the environment. Your views will feed into the evaluation and impact assessment that will constitute the evidence base for a possible revision of the Directive.

Responding to the questionnaire

You can contribute to this consultation by filling in the online questionnaire. If you are unable to use the online questionnaire, please contact us using the email address below.

Questionnaires are available in some or all official EU languages. You can submit your responses in any official EU language.

For reasons of transparency, organisations and businesses taking part in public consultations are asked to register in the EU’s Transparency Register.

Respond to the questionnaire

Report on Wastewater Treatment in Galway City

Thanks to extensive research by our Galway City Association, An Taisce has submitted a detailed report to the EPA on the ongoing wastewater treatment issues in Galway City. 

The 250 page report is based on analysis of multiple incidences of untreated wastewater being discharged into the River Corrib and the Galway Bay SAC in recent years. It identifies the root cause of regular discharges of untreated wastewater into the River Corrib at the Spanish Arch/ Claddagh Basin, the regular contamination of Claddagh Beach/ Grattan Beach and why Ballyloughane Beach has failed to secure Blue Flag status.

The report finds that there has been significant under-reporting of discharges of untreated wastewater. It also finds that claims made (that the license issued by the Environmental Protection Agency allows for these numerous discharges) are untrue.