Freshwater Pearl Mussel Projects
Donegal County Council, Dept. of Environment, Community, and Local Government
RPS provided consultancy services for the development of Freshwater Pearl Mussel/Sub-basin Management Plans and is providing consultancy servies for a new Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project grant aided under the EU's INTERREG IVA Programme.
Freshwater Pearl Mussels are included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive and because they are particularly sensitive to environmental pressures, require catchment-specific measures in addition to the Water Framework Directive Programme of Measures to ensure that their water-related habitat requirements are achieved.
RPS was appointed to prepare Freshwater Pearl Mussel Sub-Basin Management Plans for 27 Freshwater Pearl Mussel catchments. Following initial desk based assessments and publication of consultation plans, an extensive programme of catchment investigations and monitoring took place over a two year period. The main pressures and risks within the catchments were identified and ecological quality objectives established and outlined in the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Regulations, 2009. This project was a key step in the implementation of both the Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive in Ireland.
The current project involves preparation of management plans for a number of catchments, building on the draft Sub-basin Management Plans. The plans will identify issues relevant to mussel conservation, and propose realistic solutions. Testing of protection measures will be carried out to establish what actions are likely to be effective and cost efficient. Agriculture, forestry and septic tank systems are key areas for consideration. Codes of Practice will be drafted to allow for a sustainable approach that prevents impact on mussels. These will assist agencies, local authorities, public authorities and key stakeholders in relation to proposed developments, works and activities within Freshwater Pearl Mussel catchments.