World Wetlands Day 2015 - Map of Irish Wetlands Expanded

2 February 2015

To coincide with World Wetlands Day 2015 the on-line Map of Irish Wetlands1 has been updated by wetland ecologists Dr Peter Foss and Dr Patrick Crushell of Wetland Surveys Ireland.

The main aim of the Map of Irish Wetlands project is to provide the user with information relating to wetland sites across Ireland. The location of each site is displayed over Google Maps and additional information on the biodiversity of each site is presented along with a site photograph for selected sites.

Wetlands that occur throughout Ireland include areas of bog, fen, swamp, wet woodland, salt marsh, lakes, rivers and lagoons. There is an increasing awareness of the importance of the services provided by these most valuable and threatened ecosystems such as flood prevention, carbon storage and biodiversity conservation.

The map has proven to be a useful tool for professionals, as well as community groups, schools, and other bodies involved in promoting the natural heritage of their local areas.

 At the start of 2013 when the map was launched, just over 3,100 discrete wetland sites had been identified, this number has grown to 6,500 today.

Many of the newly added sites originate from wetland surveys undertaken by the authors in Louth, Kildare, and Kerry during 2013 and 2014. Preliminary work on wetlands in counties Cavan, Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Longford, Tipperary, Laois, and Meath has also revealed additional sites that have been added to the Map of Irish Wetlands.

Despite the known importance of wetlands and the requirement of authorities to protect them, only two counties, Louth and Kildare, have completed surveys of their wetland resource2 at present.

According to Dr. Foss one of the developers of the map ‘it is crucial that a survey of wetlands be undertaken at a national level as it is impossible to protect the resource without first knowing its true extent’. Only after a survey of wetlands is undertaken can the relevant authorities carry out their functions in trying to protect these important habitats. 

SAM 5047

Slievenaglogh upland, Co. Louth. Surveyed as part of the Louth Wetland Survey 2014 (Photo: P. Foss).

ENDS

Notes:

1The map can be viewed at either of the following websites: 

www.WetlandSurveysIreland.com

www.FossEnvironmentalConsulting.com

2The following counties have a complete wetland inventory: Louth, Kildare.

Surveys of the wetland resource in the following counties have commenced: Waterford, Monaghan, Cavan, Clare, Laois, Meath, Sligo, Westmeath, and Wicklow.

© Peter Foss 2012