Bog restoration programme receives €2m in funding

Bog restoration programme receives €2m in funding

Just under €2m is to be spent on the administration of a programme for the accelerated restoration of Ireland’s protected bogs over the coming 12 months.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has placed a tender for €1.86 million for project management and associated professional services concerning the restoration of roughly 1,900 hectares of raised bogland at nine different sites around the country.

Those sites comprise a mixture of public and private lands in six separate counties, the vast majority of which are in Co Galway, with the remainder split across Leinster.

The only bogs in question which remain fully in State ownership are at three sites in Co Kildare. The Department said the development of the restoration plans had been informed by engagement with landowners and other stakeholders.

The contract will be executed on a rolling 12-month basis, it said, with a cutoff for applications of early February.

A spokesperson for the Department said that it is “not in a position at this time” to indicate the projected cost for the bog renewal programme, which is scheduled to be rolled out over the next number of years, subject to due budgetary process.

They also declined to confirm the maximum number of tenderers that will be allowed to bid for the contract.

Ireland’s protected raised boglands, which were granted that status between 1997 and 2002, are split between 53 Special Areas of Conservation and 61 current and proposed Natural Heritage Areas.

Just one sixth of the 310,000 hectares of raised bog that originally occurred in Ireland still exists, with much of it in poor ecological condition according to Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The newest restoration project is the latest of many aimed at restoring the vitality and size of the country’s living bogs. The latest initiative also forms a key component of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, published last year.

The main measures for restoring such bogland include drain blocking, the removal of trees and vegetation, the isolation of pollutants on high bog, and excavation and reprofiling of the area.

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