LIFE IP project (Waters of LIFE)

LIFE Integrated projects 2018
Stage 2 – FULL PROPOSAL
Technical application forms
Part B – technical summary and overall context of the project

EPA has determined that the risk profile of high-status water bodies is different to the general risk profile across water bodies nationally.

In the case of those high-status water bodies which EPA has determined to be At Risk of not meeting their objective under the Water Framework Directive, forestry activity was a significant pressure in 40% of cases, hydromorphological alteration in 34%, agriculture in 28% and peat extraction or disturbance in 13% of cases

Objectives of project

The Waters of LIFE IP will act as a catchment-scale demonstration project to test and validate the effectiveness of implementing locally-tailored ‘best practice’ measures across a range of landscape and land-use management activities typically associated with the catchments of high-status waters.

The project will trial and validate the implementation of measures at the catchment scale across a number of pilot catchments with the view to building national understanding and capacity, optimising approaches for the targeting of measures in critical areas of the catchment, assessing the effectiveness of the approach and using the learnings from the project to inform and support ongoing work across all high-status catchments in the Irish River Basin District.

It will demonstrate the effective implementation of an integrated catchment-based approach for the application of measures to protect and/or restore all waters for which a high-status objective has been identified in Ireland’s River Basin Management Plan.

Summary actions

A.1: Prepare detailed characterisation of HS Catchments (ecology, natural capital value, main pressures, problems)

Deliverables:

An initial analysis of classification metrics that have driven High Status Site changes in recent years. This will include sites that have lost HS, those that have improved to HS and sites where status has fluctuated between HS and lower classifications.

An analysis of landscape features, land use intensity, and hydrology that typifies known HS sites.

Identification of significant changes in landscape / land use over the period of analysis.

Comparison of HS changes and landscape feature changes to identify potential drivers of HS. This will include identification of unmonitored potentially HS sites.

Milestones:
– Procurement of external technical support. This should occur within 3 months of completion of task F.1.
– High Status Sites Characterisation Report delivered by 1/12/2020
– Landscapes of HS Sites Report and Unmonitored Sites Potentially at HS Report delivered by 1/12/2020
– Metrics for use in Determining Status Change Report delivered by 1/12/2020.

A.2: Prepare Framework of HS Measures (Best Practice Measures) and guidance

Deliverables:

The task will deliver a framework of available measures for protection and restoration of high status catchments along with guidance on design and implementation; environmental parameters targeted and expected trajectories post implementation; estimated costs; synergies with other programmes of measures; cumulative or secondary effects. Through a SWOT analysis of shortlisted measures the Waters of Life project will include an assessment of constraints to implementation, likely acceptability of measure, and established effectiveness.


Milestones:
– Appointment of external technical support. This should occur within 3 months of completion of project management task F.1.
– Comprehensive list of measures for consideration in HS scenarios within 1 month of appointment of technical support.
– Draft Framework of HS Measures document for review within 4 months of appointment of technical support.
– Final Framework of HS Measures delivered by 1/03/2021.

A.3: Select Demonstration Catchments

Deliverables:

A Demonstration Catchment Selection Report listing those catchments selected with a range of pressures suitable for measures demonstration will be delivered. This report will set out the Multi-Criteria Analysis used in the selection process for all catchments considered including those eventually shortlisted.
Early engagement with local communities during the process will direct the project to catchments and areas within catchments that will maximise the opportunity for local participation and for successful project outcomes. Details of the engagement process and groups / community members engaged will be set out in the report above.

Milestones:
– A Demonstration catchment Selection Report detailing the selection process and key considerations in final selected catchments. Lessons learnt in effective methods to approach and engage with local communities will be documented. This will be delivered within 15 months of completing action A.1.
– Demonstration catchments selected by 1/03/2022

A.4: Develop HS catchments RBAP scheme

Deliverables:

A list of RBAPS ecosystem targets that reflect near natural catchment conditions required to support high status will be prepared by the Waters of Life project and agreed through consultation with farmers and stakeholders. Targets will be set for key relevant parameters essential to supporting high status waters and scheme eligibility criteria agreed.

A scoring system for assessment of results delivery that will allow for incremental achievement of targets will be prepared. The scoring system will reward progression between incremental phases and be agreed with stakeholders.

The Waters of Life project will prepare a payment scheme with payment levels that reflect the quality of results delivered as assessed by the agreed scoring system. Payments must also ensure that lower achievements are adequately rewarded to cover the cost of participation.

Milestones:
– An annotated list of Ecosystem targets with justification for their selection and specific objectives that are to be achieved. To be delivered within 6 months of action A.3 commencement.
– A scoring system for results assessment including details of criteria for evaluation and incremental steps. To be delivered within 9 months of action A.3 commencement.
– A payment scheme that reflects quality of outputs delivered and incentivises farmer performance. To be delivered within 15 months of action A.3 commencement.
– Guidance material to support scheme operation and training of participants and farmers.
– RBAPS including ecosystem targets, a scoring system for results assessment, and a payment scheme reflecting outputs delivered and incentivising farmer performance delivered by 1/03/2022
– Guidance for support scheme operation delivered by 1/03/2022.

A.5: Initial community engagement regarding concrete actions

Deliverables:
The action will aim to ensure that measures trials are situated in areas where local communities are informed and supportive of project objectives.
It will provide initial feedback to the Waters of Life project team on measures selection and design.

Milestones:
– Final selection of demonstration catchments within 15 months of completing A.1.
– Report on local community engagement and attitudes to project actions and objectives, and awareness of HS sites within 15 months of completing A.1.
– Initial community engagement re concrete actions completed by 1/03/2022.

A.6: Investigate land ownership (commonage areas)

Deliverables:
The Waters of Life project will prepare a map of commonage areas in the demonstration catchments selected and establish the relevant shareholders to permit engagement by the project.

Milestones:
– Identification of shareholders in relevant commonage areas in demonstration catchments. This action will commence in the latter part of the catchment selection task (A.3) and will be completed in the same timeframe.
– Commonage stakeholders in demonstration catchments identified by 1/03/2022

A.7: Secure Licenses / Permissions

Deliverables:
This action will deliver a register of pre-commencement requirements for all project actions with specified lead-in times to minimise risk to implementation schedules. The register will be maintained as a live document throughout the project and updated as details of specific tasks are identified and requirements are discharged.


Milestones:
– Register of Pre-commencement Requirements. This action will commence during preparation of the framework of measures task (A.2) and will be continue into the phase of implementation programmes roll-out task (C.7).
– Timely discharge of licence, consents, consultations and permits.
– Licence, consents, consultations and permits discharged by 1/06/2023.

A.8: Review and elaborate a detailed work programme

Deliverables:
The action will deliver an objective review of outputs to date and identify any lessons learnt and implications for ongoing Waters of Life project implementation. It will incorporate the findings of this review and the cumulative results to date into a detailed work programme for the next phase of the project.

Milestones:
– Project Interim Review Report to be delivered at the end of the preparatory actions phase and within 3 months of demonstration catchment selection.
– Detailed Project Work Programme – Phase 2. To be delivered within 3 months of demonstration catchment selection.
– Phase 1 and Work Programme-Phase 2 completed by 1/06/2022.

C.1: Catchment Walkover Investigations

Deliverables:
The action will deliver 6 catchment walkover investigations that will identify, document and map the areas where significant pressures are present. The walkover investigations will be the basis for detailed site assessments in targeted follow-up investigations (action C.2)


Milestones:
– Initial Catchment Walkover Investigations completed by 1/09/2022.

C.2: Follow-up Catchment Investigations

Deliverables:
The action will deliver a series of follow-up investigations that will provide scientific evidence of the nature and extent of pressures in the demonstration catchments and identify key locations for establishment and implementation of measures.


Milestones:
– Detailed catchment follow-up investigations completed by 1/09/2022.

C.3: Catchment strategic management plans

Deliverables:

The action will deliver 6 Strategic Catchment Management plans setting out explicit catchment details with relevant mapping including data relating to water status, land use, hydrology, population distribution, pressure types, sources and locations. The plans will provide scientific evidence of the nature and extent of pressures and identify key locations for establishment and implementation of measures. Plans will also set out a programme of monitoring to establish baseline conditions for key specified parameters


Milestones:
– Strategic Catchment Management Plans completed by 1/12/2022.

C.4: Deliver training for agricultural and forestry advisors

Deliverables:
The action will deliver a cohort of advisors with specific relevant knowledge to guide farming and forestry operations in HS catchments in a sustainable fashion. Farming advisors will be familiar with the bespoke RBAPS in terms of targets, performance indicators and payments structure. The action will deliver detailed training/capacity building relevant to the needs of national and regional stakeholders in specified sectors.

Milestones:
– Delivery of 5 number training days within six months of establishing locally based catchment teams in F.4.
– Agricultural and farm advisors trained by 1/12/2022.

C.5: Deliver training for farmers, forest operators and relevant practitioners

Deliverables:
The actions will deliver a practical training programme to introduce practitioners to the project actions and objectives. The programme will include 2 one-day training events in each of the 5 demonstration catchments (the training will not be required in the control HS catchment).


Milestones:
– Schedule of training events and site visits to representative catchment areas within 3 months of recruiting locally based catchment teams.
– 10 training events to be delivered in demonstration catchments within 9 months of recruiting locally based catchment teams.
– Farmers and practitioners trained by 1/03/2023.

C.6: Prepare implementation plans in agreement with local landowners

Deliverables:
The action will deliver integrated, practical and robust programmes for implementation of specified measures in priority catchment areas to sustain HS waters. These plans will be co-developed, agreed with, and informed by landowners and thus secure long term ownership of actions necessary for sustainable land use.


Milestones:
– Implementation plans agreed with landowners by 1/03/2023.

C.7: Implement programmes of measures across all demonstration catchments

Deliverables:
The action will deliver an effective measures programme within 5 demonstration catchments. A limited number of measures may be implemented in the control catchment depending on the findings of actions C.1, C.2 and C.3. Monitoring the implementation and performance of measures will afford learning in relation to measures effectiveness and acceptability and any unforeseen consequences. Such learning will inform adaptive responses and revisions to the programme that can be included in future programmes beyond the project demonstration catchments.


Milestones:
– Roll out of programme of measures by 01/10/22.

C.8: Landuser support for measures implementation in demonstration catchments

Deliverables:
The action will deliver an effective local measures programme for individual and cumulative pressures within 5 demonstration catchments. Implementation of measures by locally based community members will generate a sense of community custodianship of HS waters and reinforce the inherent value of such areas. It will address a resource gap in remote and sparsely populated catchments.

Milestones:
– Rural Development Scheme Measures Support Teams established by 01/10/2022

D. Monitoring of the impact of the project actions

D.1: Establish environmental monitoring programme

Deliverables:
The action will deliver a fit for purpose monitoring programme to detect the impacts of measures being implemented to protect or restore HS waters and within class drift in status. It will inform future policy in relation to such sites and the design of intervention schemes intended to support their protection.

Milestones:
– HS Catchments Monitoring Programme established by 1/09/2022.

D.2: Ongoing environmental/status monitoring and progress reporting

Deliverables:
This action will deliver an extensive dataset relating to implementation of measures in HS catchments and an assessment of their efficacy in supporting HS. It will also provide baseline data for the demonstration catchments.


Milestones:
– HS Catchments Monitoring Programme and Reporting implementation by 31/12/2026.
– Commencement of monitoring programme within 3 months of final selection of demonstration catchments
– Quarterly Monitoring Reports throughout the monitoring programme
– Annual Monitoring Reports throughout the monitoring programme.

D.3: Generate community custodianship of HS sites

Deliverables:
This action will deliver a comprehensive report on the process of community engagement and inculcation of custodianship of HS waters. A pathway for similar processes nationally will be generated.

Milestones:
– Assessment of the process of community engagement and inculcation of custodianship of HS waters delivered by 31/12/2026.
– Design of community engagement/facilitation/co-design method within 3 months of selection of demonstration catchments
– Carrying out of 1st cycle within 8 months of selection of demonstration catchments
– Report on 1st cycle within 9 months of selection of demonstration catchments
– Carrying out of 2nd cycle in 6 HS catchments in final year of the project
– Summary report on action research and recommendations based on lessons learned.

Project Management Group:

The DHPLG, as Co-ordinating Beneficiary, with the eight Associated Beneficiaries – Local Authorities (including LAWPro – Local Authority Waters Programme), the EPA, DAFM, the Forest Service (FS-DAFM), the NPWS, the OPW, Teagasc (the Agriculture and Food Development Authority) and Coillte (the State Forestry Body) together with representatives of participating stakeholders for example farmers/forest owners, will make up the Project Management Group.

Key staff members from all nine Beneficiaries have worked closely in the preparation of this project application and will meet to formally establish the Project Management Group immediately if this LIFE-IP funding application is successful. The Project Management Group will develop an overarching project plan and specify the requirements, tasks and deliverables for the procurement of the Project Team.

The Project Management Group will manage the Project Team on an ongoing basis, in terms of project planning, implementation, management and monitoring. To that end, the Project Management Group will utilise a variety of staff members with key skill sets from each Beneficiary, as and when required. It is expected that there will be at least one Project Management Group meeting per year, the frequency and subject of Project Management Group meetings will be task driven.

The Project Leader will report regularly to the Project Management Group, with other Project Team members reporting and attending meetings as and when required.

Project Team:

A dedicated, multi-disciplinary, four person core Waters of Life Project Team comprising a Project Team Leader, Project Scientific Advisor, Project GIS/data Advisor and Project Administrator will be appointed by the Co-ordinating Beneficiary for the duration of the project. Each of the Project core Team members will be full time (fixed-term temporary, whole-time contracts) with the exception of the Project Administrator, who will work half time. The core team will be based in a dedicated project office. Project Catchment Scientist/Ecologists will be engaged in the project on a regional basis at the phase 2 implementation stage within the selected catchments. The regional Catchment Scientist/Ecologists will be placed in offices in the selected demonstration catchments.

F.2: Development of the project data management systems

In the early stages of the project, the Project Team will establish an appropriate data management system for the project. The system will be used to manage all project data, including project reports, publications, financial information, measures implementation plans and other data. The data management system will allow information to be easily stored, retrieved, updated and analysed by the Project Team throughout the project.

The Waters of Life Project will generate a significant amount of practical information on the management of farms and forests and the implementation and monitoring of concrete High Status actions on project sites. This information will have a broad spatial, temporal and thematic spread and will be captured in Geographic Information System (GIS) and other relevant formats.

All data generated but the project, including supporting assessments of high status sites trends and pressures will be input to the project database.

This system will be compatible with the Co-ordinating Beneficiaries existing data management and GIS systems. These databases will be continually updated and added to by the Project Team throughout the duration of the project.

This activity will be conducted by the core project team and appropriate scientific support, located within the regional offices.


This action will be continual from the start of the project on until the end of the project.

The Waters of Life will generate significant quantities of information, reports and data in a number of formats. A readily accessible integrated data management system is necessary to securely store these data and to maximise their potential use. The system will allow data to be easily stored, retrieved, updated and analysed by the Project Team throughout the project.


The Geographic Information System will be the key, central hub to ensure information generated by the preparatory, the concrete implementation and the monitoring actions (A, C and D Actions) are stored and used effectively. GIS are commonly used in catchment management, where mapping of the location and extent of features is required, as well as the integration of many different data sets. The GIS will be used to identify critical source areas for sediment and nutrient losses that are key drivers of the impacts on high status sites and also their associated water-dependant protected species and habitats.


The GIS will also allow the rapid production of maps for project sites. Maps are a key, efficient tool in measures implementation planning. The GIS will also be very important in increasing public awareness and understanding of High Status and the project, in the dissemination of project results (E Actions), and in reporting (F Actions).

F.3: Project and Financial Management and Reporting (including Annual reports, End of Project Report and Recommendations, and independent audit)

Deliverables:


Early establishment of a detailed monitoring programme to measure project progress;
An end of project report;
Non- technical summary project report;
An independent financial audit of the Waters of Life project – Auditor’s report

Milestones:
– End of Project Reporting completed including Final Audit Report by 31/12/2026.

Download full project details here:

Blue Dot Catchments Programme Work Programme: River Basin Management Plan 2018 -2021

LAWPRO

The work programme for the Blue Dot Catchments Programme for implementation during the 2nd cycle River Basin Management Plan was adopted by the Steering Group on 26th of September 2019.

The Programme objectives are:


1. Agree a vision for the protection and restoration of high status waters in Ireland.
2. Determine what constitutes a Blue Dot water body / site / catchment, and agree on a spatial network of high status waters in Ireland.
3. Agree branding for high status / blue dot waters.
4. Prepare a communications and engagement plan.
5. Establish pilot projects for community engagement and action.
6. Work together with the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government1 to establish appropriate planning guidance for the protection of Blue Dot waters.
7. Influence national schemes and programmes which can prioritise the protection and
restoration of Blue Dot waters.
8. Assist in improving the exchange of information within and between local and public
authorities and with Government Departments.
9. Consider areas where further research is required.
10. Review proposals for site specific measures for high status objective water bodies from
LAWPROs work programme and the LIFE IP (if successful).
11. Contribute to the development of a long term strategy for high status waters

An estimated work programme budget is presented

Priority Action Areas in which LAWPRO fieldwork is underway

(As at March 2022)

Note from LAWPRO: the numbers referred to in the LAWPRO annual report are for fieldwork underway in priority areas for action (PAAs) and the reference to “complete” was made in error. In-stream assessment fieldwork is a complex process that takes place in phases over a number of seasons and in many cases over a number of years. Fieldwork is not complete until an action plan has been finalised. Once fieldwork in a PAA is complete and an action plan is available, it will be published on http://www.catchments.ie or http://www.lawaters.ie.

This record lists the PAAs in which fieldwork is underway.

PAA Name
Rogerstown Estuary
Allow
Owveg (Nore)
Milltown (Kerry)
Silver (Kilcormac)
Athy stream
Kilmainham (Dee)
Lough Ennel/ Dysart Stream
Camlin
Moynalty
Clonshanbo/ Lyreen
Potters and Three Mile Water
Erne
Burren
Bundorragha
Lough Melvin and Drowse
Clonakilty
Glen Lackagh
Owenriff
Rosscarbery
Upper Caragh
Big (Louth)
Maghery
Annalee
Yellow (Ballinamore)
Dawros
Leannan
Nuenna
Unshin
Lough Mask and Lough Carra
Jiggy/Hind
Dinin (south, main and muckalee)
Clashawley
Inch (Bilboa)
Recess
Dead and Cauteen
Lough Rinn/Forbes
Clooneigh
St Johnstons
Lough Nastackan
Roosky
Clodiagh (Portlaw)
Tay
Bleach & L Graney
Lough Eske
Raford
St Clerans stream
Gageborough
Clareen
Derreen and Douglas (Kiltegan)
Morell
Urrin
Roo
Duiske
Glan
Glenree
Laghy Stream – Bridgetown
Boycetown
Bunowen (Louisburgh)
Mountain (water) & Emy Lake
Bellawaddy
Duff
Toem and Cappawhite
Doonbeg System
Fahaduff and Upper Maine
Broadford
Castlegar
Caha
Upper Deel
Upper and Lower Deel
Mulkear (Limerick)
Farahy
Owvane
Avonbeg-Avonmore
Lough Key
Tyshe
Blackwater (Longwood)
Shallee
Colligan-Bricky
Failmore
Donegal SW & Murlins
Woodford
Bannow
Sow
Erkina
Cashla
Lorrha Stream
Newport
Lough Lene/Adeel Stream
Upper Bonet
Ballinglen
Mountain
Derry-Coolboy-Rosnastraw
Nadreegeel
Lower Nanny
Island
Lough Conn and Lough Cullin
Templeport
Waterford Harbour
Kilkeran Lagoon
Portarlington
Carrigaholt
Martin
Clonmany
Feale
Awbeg (Buttevant) West
Deenagh
Drumcomoge
Cloonlavis/Glore
Owenmore

List of completed LAWPRO Priority Action Area (PAA) Desktop Studies

Note: lists the desk studies that have been finalised from a technical point of view but have not yet been approved for publication on http://www.lawaters.ie website and thus are not considered complete. Once they have been reviewed and approved, they will be published on LAWPRO website.

PAA Name
Kilmainham (Dee)
Glenree
Bunowen (Louisburgh)
Raford
Bundorragha
Recess
Big (Louth)
St Clerans stream
Milltown (Kerry)
Erne
Upper Bonet
Dawros
Clooneigh
Dinin (south, main and muckalee)
Lough Ennel/ Dysart Stream
Cullies
Athy stream
Mountain (water) & Emy Lake
Lough Key
St Johnstons
Annalee
Duff
Lough Melvin and Drowse
Nadreegeel
Nuenna
Unshin
Silver (Kilcormac)
Camlin
Bellawaddy
Laghy Stream – Bridgetown
Glen Lackagh
Lough Nastackan
Yellow (Ballinamore)
Ballinglen
Roo
Clodiagh (Portlaw)
Lough Eske
Jiggy/Hind
Donegal SW & Murlins
Upper Deel
Mulkear (Limerick)
Inny
Lough Currane
Roosky
Allow
Doonbeg System
Glan
Owenriff
Upper and Lower Deel

Broadford
Leannan
Clonmany
Caha
Carrowmore
Woodford
Farahy
Upper Caragh
Awbeg (Buttevant) West
Owvane
Gageborough
Feale
Lough Rinn/Forbes
Lough Fadda/Ownagappul
River Finn
Kilkeran Lagoon
Potters and Three Mile Water
Owentaraglin
Groody
Rosscarbery
Clareen
Bleach & L Graney
Ow
Liffey Upper
Avonbeg-Avonmore
Moynalty
Lough Lene/Adeel Stream
Boycetown
Morell
Rogerstown Estuary
Tay
Carrigaholt
Clonakilty
Urrin
Sow
Fahaduff and Upper Maine
Clashawley
Toem and Cappawhite
Clonshanbo/
Lyreen
Newport
Dead and Cauteen
Burren
Castlegar
Lough Mask and Lough Carra
Tyshe
Lee (Tralee) & Estuary
Adrigole
Glencar lake
Maghery

Shallee
Lickeen System
Templeport
Castletown
Upper Tolka
Failmore
Portarlington
Inch (Bilboa)
Ogeen
Cashla
Duiske
Boora
Derry-Coolboy-Rosnastraw
Lower Nanny
Mountain
Ashbourne
Keel Foherish
Camoge
Drumcomoge
Glenaboy
Owenmore
Lorrha Stream
Slaney
Ara
Island
Deenagh
Martin
Tulsk
Suck
Blackwater (Longwood)
Derravaragh/Yellow & Gaine
River
Derreen and Douglas (Kiltegan)
Owenboy
Bride (Cork city)
Waterford Harbour

Doonbeg Priority Area for Action Desktop Report

LAWPRO

Nov 2020

WFD app shows the water quality at Kilmihil stream is at Poor status due to elevated nutrient concentrations

WFD app indicates that sediment is the significant issue and the pressures are possibly forestry and/or an operational quarry upstream

Licence Register No. A0091-01 Kilmihil

The phosphate is likely to be reaching the river through discharge from UWWTP (Kilmihil Urban Waste Water Treatment Plant). Kilmihil wastewater treatment plant was identified in the EPA initial characterisation as the sole significant pressure on the Kilmihil Stream waterbody

EPA notes that this plant is overloaded (i.e. raw sewage is discharging untreated or partially treated to the river)

Last inspection was Nov 2019

Kilmihil licence file: https://epawebapp.epa.ie/licences/lic_eDMS/rss/A0091-01.xml

Latest filings:

No waste water treatment facility in the village of Cooraclare

Forestry on peat soils

Operational quarry on Tullagower Stream, Section 4 licensed facility (former quarry, now a waste recycling/recovery facility).

Note: Cannot locate quarry/recycling center, or related section 4 license, and not referenced by name in report. Maybe Tullagower Quarries ? waste farm plastics ?

Broadford Priority Area for Action Desktop Report

LAWPRO

April 2019

WFD App lists hydromorphology as the significant pressure

Water quality impact on Broadford is confined to a 1km stretch upstream of Scotts Bridge

https://goo.gl/maps/NEbb6Pg4g9eVaLR5A

Land use and soil type indicate that the significant issue is sediment. The significant pressure is hydromorphology – channelisation: evidence of deepening and straightening.

Potential issue with quarry

https://goo.gl/maps/79kQXSGiboZr2S1s5

EPA System for Tracking KPIs for the River Basin Management Plan

Request under the AIE Regulations for an electronic copy of the following documentation outlining the mechanism to track KPIs for the RBMP

On pg 34 of the report entitled “REVIEW OF THE LOCAL AUTHORITY WATERS PROGRAMME” the author Dr Matt Crowe notes:

In 2019, the EPA commenced developing a system for tracking the main KPIs for the River Basin Management plan and this would have included a mechanism for tracking progress with the two PAA targets mentioned above so it is possible that a mechanism and information exists within the overall State system but it does not appear to be publicly accessible.

Dr Crowe’s report was published in Jan 2021

A key commitment in the Programme for Government, is launching a new strengthened River Basin Management Plan to help Ireland protect, improve and sustainably manage our water environment to 2027.

A public mechanism to track KPIs underpins the RBMP

Under the current RBMP there are no public KPIs for LAWPRO, ASSAP, the related regional/national committees, the water related roles within local authorities, or the implementation bodies

AIE (25/3/22)

REVIEW OF THE LOCAL AUTHORITY WATERS PROGRAMME (LAWPRO)

Dr. Matt Crowe
January, 2021

This review is presented in two parts.

Part 1 presents an assessment of the overall strategic landscape within which LAWPRO sits, together with some implications for the future direction of LAWPRO.

Part 2 presents the assessment of LAWPRO drawing on some of the key learnings from the strategic review set out in Part 1.

The main objectives of the assessment were:

  1. Assess the role and contribution of LAWPRO to the current level of progress in implementing the actions outlined in the second-cycle River Basin Management Plan (RBMP).
  2. Complete a full review of the LAWPRO operation, building on work already completed, to consider its effectiveness in delivering on its objectives and to identify opportunities for improving and strengthening its operation during the next RBMP, taking into account the ambition of the third RBMP.
  3. Examine the opportunities for integrating and delivering on water policy, Climate Change, Biodiversity and broader economic, social and environmental sustainability objectives and identify the role that LAWPRO might play in achieving this during the third RBMP cycle.
    The review is based on an assessment of the documents provided by The Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH), in particular, the external review of LAWPRO, LAWPRO’s submission to the DHLGH, the research conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), the business cases for both the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office (LAWCO) and the Local Authority Support and Advice Team (LAWSAT), the 2018 and 2019 Annual Reports for LAWPRO, the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP) internal report, Significant Water management Issues consultation submissions and the current river basin management plan.

Notes

“the 3rd cycle plan must explicitly deal with any exemptions being applied in accordance with the provisions of the Directive, including where natural conditions are being invoked as a reason for aiming for less stringent objectives”

clarity about the respective roles of LAWPRO and local authorities

“if the 3rd cycle plan makes it explicit through prioritisation and goal setting that protecting and improving waters are of equal importance, then LAWPRO should have a lead role in both strategies. Currently, LAWPRO’s primary focus is on the Priority Areas for Action (PAA) which are mainly about seeking improvement in water quality. This is fine for the remainder of the second cycle but will not be enough for the 3rd cycle which will require clear and fully integrated catchment strategies for protecting and improving all water bodies.

“more emphasis should be placed by both LAWPRO and ASSAP on how the various steps in the process translate into the ‘right action in the right place at the right time’ actually happening, how it is verified and recorded that it has happened and the subsequent impact on water quality. This will be the real acid test of how the entire LAWPRO/ASSAP process is working

“Progressing the blue dots catchment programme objective has been very slow”

Set “clear and straightforward objectives” for LAWPRO – “These high level KPIs will need to include both quantitative and qualitative indicators”

“LAWPRO’s role in converting advice into action is also worth considering as there have to be consequences for either Implementing Bodies or land owners not taking action once the ‘right action in the right place at the right time and by the right person or organisation’ has been identified and agreed”

“Ideally, local authority staff would also engage on a regular basis with local agricultural advisors when it comes to engaging with local farmers so that a level of consistency is brought to providing farmers with advice about what to do”

The five regional operational committees have broad representation from the various implementation bodies and are perfectly positioned to facilitate a ratcheting up of collaborative implementation at catchment and sub-catchment levels

“It is difficult to nail down in precise terms the ‘stated objectives’ of LAWPRO” – Clarify the precise objectives set for LAWPRO for the third cycle. They will not necessarily be the same as for the second cycle. Without clear and straightforward objectives, it is difficult to track progress and to evaluate relative success over time.

LAWPRO currently use indicators to track meeting numbers and levels of participation. These provide evidence of ‘showing up’ but say little about the quality of participation, buy-in and engagement or how people feel about the engagement.

Under the current arrangements, neither LAWPRO or ASSAP can force the problem owner, be they another public body, a body corporate or a private citizen, to take the right action in the right place at the right time but are relying on the goodwill and cooperation of the problem owner to take the necessary action.

A key ‘de-minimus’ purpose for the blue dots catchment programme was to coordinate activities across all Implementing Bodies to ensure that actions were undertaken at these 141 water bodies to maximise the chances of their meeting their high-status objective. Ideally, the programme would also maintain a watching brief of the 243 water bodies deemed not at risk to ensure they remained so and did not deteriorate in quality

Growing need for up to date information about both water quality and the actions being taken (the right action in the right place) so that as dynamic and up to date a system of information as possible is available for both practitioners and the public

The key outcome is ‘an improvement in water quality in the priority areas for action (PAAs)’.

Note: author unable to locate EPA KPI mechanism, first created in 2019

Athy Stream: Silt, Sediment and River Restoration Project

Athy Stream: Widespread sediment issues have been identified.

Ongoing work by ASSAP may help reduce the amount of new sediment entering the stream.

However, this will not resolve issues with historic sediment and possible impacts from historical straightening of the channel. There may be need for additional restoration work on this river, however as yet there is no framework for river restoration measures in these scenarios.

These works can be expensive.

No AFA report on catchments.ie

No LAWPRO desktop report publsihed to date