Ballinaglera Biodiversity Project
What is it?
The project consists of a survey and mapping of the study area to better understand the biodiversity present and how to create more awareness on the site. It will also motivate landowners to employ sustainable methodologies to improve their land, hedgerows and soil and encourage biodiversity.
The results of this study as well as the action plan that will be created will be future tools for our local schools resulting in a greater awareness among our young people.
The study area will focus on an exceptional section of the Leitrim/ Beara Breffni Way close to the village of Ballinaglera. The area includes a well-preserved Sweathouse and Holy Well (St Hugh’s Well) with iron-rich waters. These heritage structures are very special to the local community, who visit them and “take the cure”.
The project aim is to also involve the community affected by it, so young European and local volunteers will work on this project alongside the landowners. The target area, which includes hillside, hedgerows, stone walls and wooded areas, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity.
A Biodiversity Hub set up in Ballinaglera Community Hall will be used as media to spread more information and cultivate further appreciation for local biodiversity and sustainability. It will be also a place to learn about good practices in increasing biodiversity with special focus on pollinators, and native species of flora and fauna.
1. Leitrim is a beautiful place that is still unknown by many.
The proposed study area is exceptional. It is part of the Leitrim Way and there’s a need to attract more walkers and visitors to contribute to sustainable tourism and economy. In contrast to studies done on Killarney, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, Leitrim is still an unknown place and little work has been done to promote and conserve it. Small areas like this go unnoticed although they have a lot of heritage, natural beauty, and habitat variations.
2. There is a great lack of appreciation for local biodiversity, conifer afforestation is a constant threat to small-holdings and part-time farming is norm.
Our project will focus on increasing appreciation of the biodiversity of the area for the wider community. Signboards will give details of existing biodiversity, both flora and fauna, and good practice in conservation.
3. The local way of life is under threat. Local farming methodologies need to be supported, and it’s time to realise the contribution of grasslands to biodiversity.
The propose of the ecological study of this local heritage site and part of the Leitrim Way is so that a Community Biodiversity Plan will be completed in 2022 and adopted by the wider community, including the landowners of the study area.
Local landowners are willing to cooperate with GEAI and the ecologist to produce the Plan. All the landowners involved are very active in the community and see that this project will enhance the Leitrim/ Beara Breffni Way, attract more visitors and walkers, and contribute to improving appreciation of local biodiversity and good conservation practices along the Way.
March 2022 to November 2022 – Studies, which include survey and mapping of the area, will be carried out by qualified ecologists.
December 2022 – Submission of a Progress Report.
March 2023 – Deadline for the funded organizations to submit Final Community Biodiversity Action Plans, and for the ecologists to submit their collected data to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
Spring 2023 (date TBA) – Funded community groups will participate in a Grantee Learning Event this will include both ecologists and community groups.