Clare County Council is marking National Biodiversity Week 2014, which runs until May 24th, with the official launch of a new strategy aimed at promoting, protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of Clare.
The Clare Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-17, which has been approved by Elected Members at the May Monthly of Clare County Council last week, has identified how biodiversity can boost tourism, enhance the local environment, and assist organisations and individuals working in the area of conservation and heritage.
Key objectives of the Plan include supporting the recording of biodiversity across County Clare and to submit all biodiversity records to the National Biodiversity Database Centre; raising awareness of the role of biodiversity in climate change and the importance of wetland management in preventing flooding, and encouraging proposals relating to the positive management and additional planting of native tree species.
Among the agencies that have contributed to the preparation and delivery of the Plan is Clare County Council, the Clare Biodiversity Group, Coillte, Burren LIFE, Burrenbeo Trust, County Clare Bat Group, Celt, the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation and Irish Seed Savers Association.
Clare Biodiversity Officer Shane Casey is hosting a number of illustrative talks on the Plan over the coming week. The events, entitled ‘Explore the Biodiversity of County Clare’ are being held at the public libraries in Scarriff (Tuesday, 20th at 6.30pm), Ennistymon (Wednesday, 21st at 7.00pm), Ennis (Thursday, 22nd 12 noon), Kilkee (Monday 26th at 6.30pm) and Shannon (Tuesday, 27th at 6.30pm).
Mr. Casey explained: “Biodiversity is all living things from the tiniest insect to the mighty oak. Our health, economy and quality of life depend on a healthy environment rich in biodiversity. Here in Clare, its presence is everywhere, in our parks and gardens, by our roadsides, in our rivers and seas, and our ‘living landscapes’. The purpose of this Plan is to raise awareness of the threats to County Clare’s biodiversity, and promote best practice to avoid or minimise the threats.”
He added: “We need to make sure that our approach to biodiversity conservation in Clare is consistent with Ireland’s National Biodiversity Plan and International guidance, and that it recognizes that a species, or a habitat, does not exist independently of its surroundings, and that in order to protect an individual species or habitat, we must protect the community in which it exists.”
Other objectives of the Clare Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-17 include:
– Support research projects which explore opportunities for bio-mimicry based on the biodiversity of County Clare
– Raise awareness of salt marshes and their importance in Clare
– Work with the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and Loophead Lighthouse to further increase awareness of County Clare’s sea bird colonies
– Work with landowners, local communities and other relevant groups to protect and manage inland waters, river corridors and their floodplains, turloughs, lakes and other water bodies from degradation and damage, and to recognize and promote them as natural assets of the urban and rural environment
– Deliver an educational programme to a wide variety of sectors, and produce educational material which introduces local biodiversity
– Raise awareness of the effects of damage to limestone pavement in the Burren, particularly its removal and the construction of ‘mini-dolmens’
– Raise awareness of sand dune habitats and their importance. Update ecological information on beach notice boards
– Promote and encourage best practice in roadside verge management, particularly among tidy town groups
The Clare Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-17 may be viewed on the Clare County Council website at www.clarecoco.ie.