Funding Body: Galway County Council/Western River Basin District

Duration: November 2006 - May 2008

Background

Aspects of forestry have been ident-ified, under the national charact-erisation report risk assessment pro-cess, as potential pressures acting on water bodies. The main areas of concern relate to acidification, eutrophication and sedimentation. This project is designed, by way of laboratory and field based studies, to assess the potential impact of forests and forest operations on water quality and to develop a risk assessment methodology to allow further characterisation at national level and to inform and develop a suitable programme of measures to achieve compliance with the Water Framework Directive.

Project Objectives

  1. Produce research overview of published work and ongoing research, both nationally and internationally, on impacts of forests and forest operations on surface waters in regard to acidification, eutrophication and sedimentation.
  2. Identify knowledge gaps.
  3. Undertake fieldwork to build on existing information and integrate it with new data and mapping from the Water Framework Directive projects.
  4. Generate new risk assessment methodology and mapping relating the influence of forests and forest operations to surface water quality using information derived from the literature review and field measure-ments.
  5. Develop Programme of Measures to mitigate the identified risk.

Results to date

Two comprehensive literature reviews have been produced, the first evaluating the role of forests and forest practices in the eutrophication and sedimentation of receiving waters, the second evaluating the role of forests and forest practices in the acidification of receiving waters. These are to be submitted for publication. For the eutrophication and sedimentation study (UCC section of the project), field measurements of 140 sites has been undertaken. Diatom, macroinvertebrate and sediment sampling has been completed for each of these sites. One set of water samples has been collected for each site during low flow conditions and analysed, with a second set to be taken during high flow conditions in September/October 2007. Electrofishing to be undertaken on a sub-set of sites (50 sites in total) in September/October 2007. Diatom and macroinvertebrate processing and identification in the laboratory is ongoing at present.

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