Supporting Local News

County Galway landowners and anglers combine to improve water quality on local river

Landowners and two local angling clubs have combined to fence-off a buffer zone to help improve water quality of a river in Headford in County Galway

The joint project, involving landowners and Kilbeg and Headford angling clubs, involved farmers erecting fences along a five kilometre stretch of the upper Annacutra River in Headford, a tributary of Lough Corrib.

The initiative has created a two metres riparian buffer along the riverbank, including a variety of grasses, trees, and shrubs.

The vegetation helps stabilise the soil, prevent erosion, and filter pollutants from runoff before they reach the water.

One of the primary functions of a riparian buffer zone is to improve water quality, according to Galway County Councillor Mary Hoade (FF), whose old familial farm was included in the zone.

“The plants in these zones act as a natural filter, trapping sediments and absorbing nutrients and pollutants from surface water runoff. This helps in preventing these contaminants from entering the water body and degrading water quality,” she said.

The fencing materials was provided by the clubs and was substantially funded through a grant from Lawpro, Galway County Council’s water programme office.

Representatives of the local angling clubs said they were “deeply indebted to the local landowners who installed the fencing” and for “generously donating the two metre buffer zones to improve biodiversity and water quality”.

“Preserving and restoring riparian buffer zones is crucial for maintaining the health of aquatic ecosystems, supporting biodiversity, and ensuring the sustainable use of water resources.

“The importance of the streams and rivers entering Lough Corrib has long been recognised. They are the veins and arteries of the catchment, and their health is not just important for spawning trout and salmon but for all aspects of the catchment – drinking water, mammals, birds, and other animals,” said Cllr Mary Hoade.

As well as fencing, the installation of solar drinking troughs as part of the project help to prevent cattle from silting up the river and reduces pollution.

“The Annacutra was a very productive spawning stream producing 7% of the Corrib trout stock. This fencing project will ensure the water quality in the system will return to pristine condition,” added Cllr Hoade, who praised the joint initiative.

(Photo: Galway County Councillor Mary Hoade (FF) with members of Kilbeg and Headford angling club – Ignatius Egan, Frank Reilly and Kevin O’Crowley – inspecting the joint project to boost water quality at upper Annacutra River in Headford).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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