Bog of Allen repair work having positive impact on breeding Curlew

Published by Ian Carey on

Image: Michael O’Clery

20th December 2016

Once degraded peatland in Kildare has been restored and is having a beneficial impact on wildlife including curlew and large heath butterfly.

The site near Lodge Bog is a remnant of the Bog of Allen and in the last five years has seen Sphagnum moss cover expand up to 70% in formerly bare areas.

It is 11 years since the Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) embarked on a unique project to reverse the fortunes of one of Ireland’s most iconic peatlands – raised bogs. IPCC own and manage Lodge Bog in Co. Kildare, a remnant of the great Bog of Allen. 4km of drains were blocked on the bog in the first few years, a total of 200 dams were inserted in the drains.

These were made either of peat or plastic lumbar or a combination of the two.

“The results of our work has been amazing. Water levels have risen by 20-30cm all over the bog and we are finding they are more stable regardless of weather – wet or dry”, says Katie Geraghty, IPCC’s Conservation and Campaign Officer.

The results are plain to see by those who explore this site, the ground is softer, wetter and the bog building moss – Sphagnum– has colonised the drains. In the last five years, the Sphagnum moss cover has expanded by up to 70% in formerly bare areas.

All of this spells regeneration of Lodge Bog, the restoration of peat formation and the protection of the sites unique wildlife – in particular breeding Curlew and the Large Heath Butterlfy.

IPCC said in a statement: “Lodge Bog is a wonderful experience for visitors and community alike and is open year round to walkers. Thanks to the Heritage Council, Kildare County Council, Kildare Leader, Bord na Móna and IPCC supporters for financial and volunteering help with this project over the last 11 years.”

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Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.