Living River Project

This project focuses on the Upper Ballinderry Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).  
The project aims to:

1. Address the knowledge gaps in our understanding of the wider biodiversity value of the SAC/ASSI, for and in addition to the species and habitats (selection features) for which it is designated.
2. Identify ‘case-study’ sites in or adjacent to the SAC for future habitat improvement/restoration for freshwater pearl mussel, white-clawed crayfish and salmonids to assess the multi-benefits which may arise through targeted conservation/restoration for specific species.
3. Raise awareness of the SAC, its selection features and its wider biodiversity value, to positively affect the public’s attitude about the importance and value of the SAC/ASSI.

The project will improve our understanding of the presence/absence and distribution of 10 Annex II / NI Priority and locally important species and 1 Annex I habitat, within the defined SAC and in adjacent habitat contiguous to and within 1km of the SAC boundary.  

The 10 species are:

Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)
Brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri)
Brown trout (Salmo trutta)
Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii)
European eel (Anguilla anguilla)
Freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera)
Irish Damsefly (Coenagrion lunulatum)
Otter (Lutra lutra)
River lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis)
White-clawed crayfish (Austopotamobius pallipes)

The one habitat is:
Streamwater crow-foot (Ranunculus penicillatus subsp. penicillatus)
The project will also identify ‘case-study’ habitat restoration/creation sites for freshwater pearl mussel, white-clawed crayfish and salmonids so that in a Phase 2 project the multi-benefits which may arise through targeted conservation/restoration for specific species can be assessed. 

This will allow informed evidence-based decisions to be made on whether and how targeted habitat works could be extended to bring wider benefits to other species in the SAC and mitigate any potential impact which may result for another species.

Finally the project will raise awareness of the SAC through interpretation and engagement of the public, encouraging long-term sustainable use and protection of the SAC.

Funders

Northern Ireland Environment Agency, an Agency in the Department of Environment through the Natural Environment Fund

Project Partners and Supporters

Bat Conservation Ireland
Centre for Environmental Data and Recording
Mid-Ulster Council

Duration

1st July 2015 to 31st March 2016