A few of us (Ruairí, Greg, John, Tony, Congella and myself) met with the ecologists Fran Giaquinto and her colleague Phoebe (I’m afraid I don’t know her last name) on site this morning.
As we are working with the Clare County Council to develop a biodiversity plan for the wetland.
We gave them a brief overview of what has been done so far and they then went on to walk over the site taking an inventory of everything that they saw there.
They have said that they will send us their report later together with recommendations for the future management of the site and will meet with us to discuss the same.
As a few of us were there to continue work on removing the willows we particularly asked them about their recommendation as to the best way to manage this on an ongoing basis. Their advice was that doing the work now may be counterproductive as by loosening the soil around the roots we are creating ideal conditions for more seeds to seed themselves.
Their recommendation at this stage is to cease pulling the willows now and then at the end of August do an intensive clearance by hand.
This could possibly be accomplished as part of a Heritage Week event and thereafter the willows could be kept under control by a single cut with a machine in the Autumn.
We will await their report to get further details but for now it seems that we should not do any more clearance until we hear more.
Thanks to everyone who has helped so far. Don’t put away your forks yet we will need to press them into service again in August. I’ll be in touch again as soon as we have the report from them.