RHS surveys of the River Suir

Our staff commenced our aquatic surveys this week, and were undertaking River Habitat Survey (RHS) and River Hydromorphology Assessment Technique (RHAT) appraisals along the middle reaches of the River Suir. The River Suir is Ireland’s third longest river, after the Shannon and Barrow (with which it shares an estuary). The River Suir is 185 km long and drains a catchment area of 3,610 km2. The long term average flow rate of the River Suir is 76.9 m3 s-1, which is over twice that of the River Barrow.

We will be undertaking a number of surveys in the river this year, including Freshwater Pearl Mussel Margaritifera margaritifera [1029] surveys

The River Suir is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (Lower River Suir SAC, Site Code: 002137) and is selected for a number of habitats and species listed on Annex I / II of the E.U. Habitats Directives. Annex I habitats which occur in the middle reaches of the river include Floating River Vegetation [3260] and Alluvial Forests [91E0]. Annex II species which occur include White-clawed Crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes [1092], Brook Lamprey Lampetra planeri [1096], Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar [1106], and Otter Lutra lutra [1355]. We will be undertaking a number of surveys in the river this year, including Freshwater Pearl Mussel Margaritifera margaritifera [1029] surveys to assess if there are any undiscovered populations of this rare species present in the middle reaches of the river.  We undertook RHS and RHAT surveys this week to assist the planning of these surveys. Some photos we took during our surveys this week and provided in the gallery below. We also recorded a flock of Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus grazing on the banks of the river.

ECOFACT has undertaken numerous surveys of the River Suir catchment, including a catchment-wide survey of juvenile lamprey populations during 2006 on behalf of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. We look forward to undertaking a number of aquatic surveys in the catchment this season.

In addition to its conservation interests, the Suir is recognised as a premier brown trout angling fishery and also a major salmon fishery. Historically the Suir was renowned as a large salmon river and the rod caught Irish record is still a 25.8 Kg (57 lb) salmon caught on the river in 1874 at Knocklofty (near Clonmel). Although very large salmon are now rare on the river, several salmon over 9 Kg are captured every year, and a dead male salmon kelt of approximately 18 Kg was found in the lower river in 2013.

For further information on River Habitat Surveys please see the following:-

Also please contact us at any time if you require any information on Aquatic Surveys. Our ‘phone number is +353 61 419477 and our email is info@ecofact.ie. Aquatic surveys can be undertaken during the period April to September each year.

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