ECOFACT staff survey River Unshin SAC

ECOFACT staff are currently very busy with fieldwork, and have been taking advantage of recent very good weather. One of surveys we are currently completing is on the River Unshin catchment in Co Sligo. This work is being completed  to inform both the Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Natura Impact Statements (NIS) of the proposed N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin Road Scheme which is one of the few national road schemes currently being progressed in Ireland.  Although there are very few national road schemes currently being progressed in Ireland, it is notable that ECOFACT are involved in almost all currently active schemes.

The Unshin River runs from Lough Arrow to Ballysadare Bay. The river is a candidate SAC selected for alluvial wet woodlands,  floating river vegetation, Atlantic Salmon and Otter.  The River Unshin corridor is an almost pristine unmanaged and undrained river with a fully intact floodplain and excellent water quality. In a county where most of our limestone rivers have been dug out and channelised as part of the OPW’s arterial drainage schemes, or suffering from eutrophication or other pollution, this river is unique and exceptional in the county in terms of its physical and ecological  diversity.  Unmodified and pristine rivers in Ireland are now as rare as pristine bogs, and we are fortunate to have at least one good example of such a river left in the country after the devastation brought by arterial drainage and drainage maintenance. The River Unshin SAC is not affected by the proposed N4 road scheme.

The gallery above shows some of the fieldwork we completed this week, including work at the Lisconny cascades – one of the most beautiful sections of river left in Ireland. This week we were undertaking River Habitats Surveys (RHS), biological water quality sampling, fisheries surveys using electrofishing, white-clawed crayfish surveys, lamprey surveys and other general surveys of floating river vegetation and riparian habitats.

ECOFACT are Ireland’s leading independent ecological consultancy, and aquatic ecology and fisheries assessments are a core part of our work. If you have any queries on the work completed by ECOFACT or would like us to provide a quotation of any surveys or assessments which you may require, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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