Shannon Town Community Wetlands Committee and the Community Wetlands Forum are pleased to announce a free study visit to Shannon Town Wetlands on Wednesday 16 August at 11am. The visit, which takes place during Heritage Week, aims to highlight the community group’s ongoing efforts in biodiversity conservation and wetland restoration at the site of Shannon Town Wetlands.
Shannon Town Wetlands, is an approximately 5 acre site in Shannon Town in the ownership of Clare Council. After drainage and planting with spruce trees the site was largely abandoned and became a waste ground. Inspired by the Clare County Council Green Infrastructure Plan published in 2013 which identified the Shannon Wetland as an area of importance for biodiversity and wildlife within the town, the Shannon Town Community Wetlands Committee was established in October 2016 with the purpose of restoring the site for wetland habitat and nature conservation.
The Shannon Town Wetlands Committee is made up of representatives of Dúchas na Sionna, the town’s heritage group, Shannon Tidy Towns, Shannon Men’s Shed, Club na Sionna, Shannon Archaeological & Historical Society, Conradh na Gaelige, Wolfe Tones GAA and other interested people. The committee is fortunate to have the support of Ruairí Ó Conchúir, Community Water Officer with LAWPRO (Local Authority Water’s Programme).
Biodiversity on the Wetland. Photo by Carmel Shaw.
In the first two years of its existence the committee focused on securing funding and developing a design plan for the development of the wetlands. The initial works involved removing the conifers that had been planted and the dense undergrowth which had developed over the last forty years or so. Once clear it was possible to see and access the centre of the site for the first time in many years. A perimeter footpath was upgraded. A site survey and hydrology report identified the wettest portions of the site and work began on creating a network of four interconnecting ponds by deepening these areas and compacting the clay which is the base layer of the site. The site links well with the newly upgraded Town Park, and the Shannon Estuary. Together they provide complimentary green and wetland spaces for the people of Shannon to enjoy.
The site is an important haven for residents of the town as well as wildlife. The Committee have worked with LAWPRO to provide educational workshops on biodiversity to local schools. Over 200 primary and secondary school students have attended these bi-lingual workshops delivered by one of the committee members overseen by Ruairí Ó Conchúir, the Community Water Officer. A third series of workshops will be delivered in September 2023. The participants learn about the importance of wetland habitats in mitigating climate change, engage in the identification of wetland flora and fauna species and take part in pond dipping and identifying the macro invertebrates to be found.
The Shannon Town Community Wetlands would like to thank the organisations and funding bodies who have provided support to this project, including LAWPRO, Community Wetlands Forum, FLAGs West, Clare County Council, Shannon Municipal District, the Heritage Council, Creative Ireland, and Ei Electronics.
The study visit to the site, which is free to attend will provide an opportunity to learn about the restoration and management efforts of the community, and will be a chance to meet other groups and individuals from around Co. Clare and further afield working on community led wetland conservation projects. The visit will start at 11am, with the meeting point being the Car park next to Gaelscoil Donncha Rua, V14 AY84. You can register here for the event. A light lunch will be provided after the walk and talk in the nearby GAA Club. Please visit www.communitywetlandsforum.ie/events for more information or contact Mícheál Callaghan, Community Wetlands Forum Development Officer, by emailing micheal@irishrurallink.
The featured image for the blog post is of the Shannon Town Wetlands Site taken by Ruairí Ó Conchúir, LAWPRO