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. 

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



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



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.


Kerry Wetland Survey 2014 - Map of Irish Wetlands Up-date

As part of the Kerry Wetland Survey 2014 undertaken in co-operation with Wetland Surveys Ireland a revised map and associated database of potential wetlands in the county was produced. These wetlands included those previously reported from published sources (mainly SAC, SPA, NHA, ASI etc.) and previously unknown sites identified through the examination of aerial photography in conjunction with subsoil data.

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Prior to the start of the project 128 sites with a wetland interest were know in County Kerry, that number has increased to 528 potential wetland sites recognised in the county. 

These site have been added to the on-line Map of Irish Wetlands. For the potential wetland sites identified from aertial photography there is limited information displayed on the Map of Irish Wetlands. It is hoped that future wetland field surveys in County Kerry will allow the wetland habitats present on these sites to be characterised and described in more detail.  

The Kerry Wetland Survey 2014 was funded by Kerry County Council. 

The Map of Irish Wetlands now displays a total of 6,550 sites nationally.


New Report on Wetlands in County Kerry


The results of an initial survey of wetlands in County Kerry have recently been published. The survey was commissioned by Kerry County Council and undertaken by ecologists with Wetland Surveys Ireland. The survey aimed to identify all wetland areas in the county to better inform land use planning and sustainable development strategies for the county.

Wetlands can be defined as areas of land that are wet enough for long enough to support a variety of plants and animals that are specially adapted to wet conditions. These wetland areas include a wide range of wildlife habitats such as bogs, marshes, swamps, wet woodlands, lakes, ponds, salt-marshes, estuaries, and coastal lagoons.

Wetlands are important for biodiversity by supporting a wide range of specialist plant and animal species. In addition, wetlands provide important ecosystem services such as flood prevention, provision of clean water, and carbon storage. Despite the known importance of wetlands, they continue to be threatened and damaged from activities such as drainage and infilling.

By carrying out a review of digital maps and previous studies the Kerry Wetland Survey identified thirty eight wetland habitat types occurring within over 500 individual sites throughout the county. As part of the study, information on these sites has been collated into a single digital wetland map of the county.

Dr Patrick Crushell, an ecologist with Wetland Surveys Ireland who worked on the project stated that “the wetland map should provide a very useful resource and can be used to inform land-use planning to ensure the future sustainable use of the county’s wetlands”.

The report highlights the absence of detailed information on many sites and the urgent need for targeted field surveys to gain a better understanding of the wetland resource within the county and to ensure that those sites of highest importance are protected. Such surveys have recently been completed for counties Louth and Kildare.

The Kerry Wetland Survey is an action of the County Kerry Heritage and Biodiversity Plan and the report is available from Cathy Fisher, Biodiversity Officer, Kerry County Council. The report can also be downloaded from the Wetland Surveys Ireland website at www.wetlandsurveysireland.com



© Peter Foss 2012