Given that connectedness of the natural environment, biodiversity loss is an issue of concern to group water schemes and is also an issue on which they can give leadership within rural communities. To promote biodiversity enhancement within the rural water sector, the NFGWS has appointed Adrian Smyth to lead on this issue. Adrian is already working closely with the National Biodiversity Data Centre on its all-Ireland pollinator plan, which provides a practical guide to what can be done on GWS sites to provide food and habitat for pollinators such as bees.
Group water schemes are being encouraged to give careful consideration to their use of herbicides to control vegetation at GWS sites and around valves and fittings and to actively consider non-chemical control methods. Similarly, schemes should encourage alternative strategies to the control of rushes within their source catchments through methods other than the spraying of MCPA, which is a particular issue for Irish drinking water supplies. For Department (DAFM) guidance on this issue, click here. For guidance on appropriate land spreading, which has source protection and biodiversity implications please see this short video produced by Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme (ASSAP)
Adrian Smyth has developed a Framework plan and implementation strategy to encourage the wider adoption of measures for the protection of biodiversity, such as the planting of pollinator-friendly vegetation and appropriate management of hedgerows. A guidance document to help schemes protect biodiversity during Capital Works has also been issued.
For further information on the all-Ireland pollinator plan and on wider biodiversity, click here