The total budget under this LIFE Integrated project is €20,369,805 of which €9,500,000 has been committed by the European Union
Lee_SC_060 Sub Catchment (Shournagh)
The sub catchment has an area of approximately 130km2. Three of the five sub basins which make up the sub catchment have a high status objective, with the other two inputting into these and so potentially impacting on their status.
None of the three high status objective water bodies in this sub catchment are currently meeting their objective: one has fallen to good status and two to moderate status in the last monitoring cycle. All three are considered to be at risk of not meeting their objectives under the River Basin Management Plan.
The significant pressures which have been identified on these water bodies are: agriculture, hydromorphology, urban waste water, domestic waste water and urban runoff.
Soils in this catchment are free draining, which is somewhat unusual in the context of high status objective rivers. The pollution impact potential (PIP) maps produced by the EPA show very high PIP for nitrate and very low PIP for phosphorus.
Blackwater_SC_060 Sub Catchment (Awbeg)
This is the sub catchment of a river called the Awbeg (but not the one that flows through Buttevant) which rises to the South of Liscarroll in Co. Cork and flows Southwards to join the main channel of the Blackwater East of Banteer also in Co. Cork.
The catchment has an area of approx. 80km². Both the water bodies that make up the demonstration catchment have a high status objective. However, one has fallen to good status for the last two monitoring cycles, the other is not monitored, but has recently been assigned a predicted status of high by the EPA.
The geology in the area is quite mixed consisting of sandstone, mudstone and karst areas. Large areas have locally and regionally important aquifers. Soil drainage is also mixed with both well and poorly draining areas and generally acid mineral soils. Diffuse pollution pathways are similarly mixed with surface runoff in poorly draining areas, shallow to deep subsurface flow in areas of well draining soils depending on the fracturing of bedrock or presence of karst and potential for direct inputs via karst features.
The significant pressures in this area are agriculture and hydromorphology. The catchment has a mix of areas which are considered high pollution impact for both phosphorus and nitrate.
Suck_SC_020 Catchment (The Island River)
The sub catchment has an area of approximately 145km2. Of the seven water bodies in this sub catchment, only one has a high status objective. However, five of the remaining are upstream of this waterbody and therefore activities in these sub basins have the potential to impact on it. The high status objective waterbody is currently failing to meet its objective and has fallen to good status in the last two monitoring cycles. It is considered to be at risk of failing to meet the high status objective which has been set for it in the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland.
The significant pressure on the high status objective water body is reported as urban waste water, but agriculture and hydromorphology are significant pressures in some of the upstream waterbodies.
There are areas of high pollution impact for phosphorus in the sub catchment along with a high proportion of peat soils.
Graney_SC_010 Sub Catchment
Of the eight water bodies in the Graney_010 sub catchment only three have a high status objective and only one is currently meeting its objective. The other two have fallen to good status and are considered to be failing to meet their objective under the River Basin Management Plan.
Blanket peat mainly overlies the sedimentary geology in this catchment. It is these peatlands that help regulate climate, control and purify water flows as well as supporting terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. However, protection and in some instances, restoration is required to maintain the quality of these services.
The significant pressures in the catchment are forestry and agriculture. This catchment was chosen in consultation with Coillte and the Forest Service as there is likely to be significant forestry activity in the area during the life of the project. This will allow appropriate management strategies for high status areas to be developed.
Avonmore_SC_010 sub catchment
The sub catchment has an area of 141km2 and is made up of six water bodies. It captures all the streams, rivers and lakes that form headwaters to the Avonmore River. It starts in northeast parts of the Wicklow Mountains with Cloghoge and Inchavore Rivers that flow through Lough Tay and Lough Dan to form the Avonmore River. The river then flows south through Annamoe village down to Laragh village, where it meets Glenmacnass River that also rose in the Wicklow Mountains.
Two of the water bodies that make up the sub catchment are are Blue Dot rivers: Avonmore_010 and Avonmore_020, and have a high status objective. Both have fallen to good status and are considered to be at risk of not meeting their objective under the River Basin Management Plan. Historically these rivers have been at high ecological status which means they have the potential to achieve and maintain high conditions. With the change down to good ecological status we know that these rivers are at stress and need action for the restoration. However, it should also be noted that a third waterbody in the sub catchment has improved to high status and has been high during two monitoring cycles.
The significant pressures in the catchment are forestry and agriculture. This catchment was chosen in consultation with Coillte and the Forest Service as there is likely to be significant forestry activity in the area during the life of the project and will allow appropriate management strategies for high status areas to be developed.
Note: the Sheen is flagged by the project not at risk, and is included as a control
Sheen_SC_010 Sub Catchment
This sub catchment has an area of 100.5 km2. There are four waterbodies that make up the Sheen_SC_010 sub catchment, three of which have been given a high-status objective under the Water Framework Directive. It is important that high status is maintained and that there is no decline in water quality or status. The majority of the sub catchment is at high status and is considered to be not at risk of failing to meet its River Basin Management Plan objective.
The soil type across most of the sub catchment is poorly draining peat and mineral soils, overlying relatively poorly productive bedrock. Better draining soils can be found on the lower slopes and lower lying areas in the river valleys of the Sheen River and its tributaries.
As part of the Waters of LIFE Project, the Sheen River sub catchment has been chosen as a ‘control’ catchment and will be used to explore the protect function. The focus here will be on understanding how high status is currently being maintained and to identify any potential threats to water quality and status through field surveys and monitoring. In this sub catchment, the project will: monitor water quality; monitor land use change and; raise awareness of the importance of high status water bodies.