Farmers join €1.75m eco-awareness project for land with river access

FARMERS in Limerick and Tipperary have joined a four-year pilot project promoting eco-awareness in lands with river access.

The €1.75 million, European-funded MulkearLIFE programme will provide capital funding on a minimum of 12 farms for fencing along river courses, watering harvesting equipment, including gravity feed products with water piping and water troughs.

The 650km² project will also fund the installation of pasture pumps on farms, to include pumps, piping and fittings. Other measures may include the installation of solar pumped solutions.

MulkearLIFE project manager Ruairí Ó Conchúir said: “We have had this catchment management project in place for the past two years. Now we are launching the farming element of the programme.

“We are working with farmers to provide capital funding that will help them look at new ways of farming with nature. It is all done on a voluntary basis, and with a whole range of capital funding grants that will help them improve their approach to farming. It’s a win/win deal for farming and for nature.”

Supported by the IFA, the ICMSA and Teagasc, the MulkearLIFE organisers have already hosted meetings in Pallas Green, Limerick, and in the Newport Community Centre. The organisers will meet farmers at 9pm today in Cappamore Community Centre, and 9pm tomorrow in Kilcommon Community Centre.

Rivers in the pilot project include the Mulkear, Newport, Dead, Bilboa, Clare, Annagh and a large number of smaller tributaries. It is expected that a minimum of 12 pilot farms in the Mulkear Catchment will be included in the programme of works.

The scheme has been developed to protect Atlantic salmon, sea lamprey and European otter in the Lower Shannon Special Area of Conservation.

The support measures will in particular trial alternative water sources for cattle with direct access to the Mulkear river and its main tributaries (the Dead, Bilboa and Newport Rivers). The project is designed to work hand in hand with local farmers to help improve water quality in areas affected by cattle disturbance due to trampling and faecal disturbance.

The pilot sites will be selected from interested applicants (beef or dairy, upland or lowland, those with cattle drinks on land or those with direct access to rivers and streams for cattle).

Farmers will be asked to identify how best to control the impacts of direct cattle access to rivers.

lFor details of further meetings or information: www.mulkearlife.com; info@mulkearlife.com

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