Work starts to bring life back to ‘little miracle’ wetland

Published by Niall Sargent on

March 4th, 2020

South Dublin County Council has begun remedial works in a bid to restore a small but prominent wetland area in Tallaght that was destroyed following a Council mix-up last September.

Last September, the Council came under fire after silt dredged from the lake in Sean Walsh Memorial Park was dumped on a wetland area in a small corner of the park.

The former waste ground regenerated naturally over many years and was bursting with wildlife including the protected smooth newt and common frog, as well as the critically endangered European eel.

The Council said that it was responsible for the dumping of material on the site as “part of a planned process” to remove silt and rubbish from man-made lakes in the park.

Internal documents released to Noteworthy last November under Access to Information on the Environmental regulations, however, show that it was never the council’s intention to spread the excavated material.

Instead, miscommunication with a contracting company, hired for over €20,500 to carry out works in the park, lead to the mounding of the soil at the wetland site.

Frogspawn from the wetland Photo: @HerpSocIreland
Frogspawn from the wetland Photo: @HerpSocIreland

The council has now created a number of small ephemeral ponds at the edge of the former wetlands to provide breeding areas for the remaining common frogs.

According to Collie Ennis, a science officer with the Herpetological Society of Ireland (HSI) who discovered the wetland area, the move is a “very important start to the restoration process”.

Mr Ennis found the site almost one year ago while surveying Tallaght for potential pond sites as part of a project to link up existing populations of urban amphibians in the area.

“It allows the surviving adults to breed and keep the population healthy while further restoration takes place,” added Mr Ennis who has previously described the site as a “little miracle”.

“While the numbers of adult breeding frogs are down on last year, I’m optimistic that this moves us towards Seán Walsh Park continuing as an amazing resource for local people and wildlife,” he added.

Green Party representatives in the Tallaght area also welcomed the restoration works, with local Councillor Liam Sinclair pleased that the Council has “shown that they’re listening to the community”.

“That they got this work done quickly, before the important Spring breeding season, demonstrates clearly that they understand how important this was to the people of Tallaght and South Dublin County,” he added.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London