Minister Madigan announces Bord Na Móna will project manage latest element of protected raised bog programme
- Conservation campaign could create up to 70 jobs in Midlands
- €5m allocated to restore more than 1,800 hectares
- Peatlands announcement is major boost for Biodiversity and Climate Action
The implementation of Ireland’s Biodiversity and Climate Action Plan will be boosted by the announcement today by Josepha Madigan, TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, that she has appointed Bord Na Moná, following a public procurement process, to project manage the implementation of the latest element of her Department’s 2020 national protected raised bog restoration programme, to provide other necessary professional services and to undertake the restoration measures.
An allocation of €5m has been made in Budget 2020, from the Carbon Tax Fund, to restore over 1,800 hectares within the raised bog Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Natural Heritage Area (NHA) network on a number of raised bogs across several counties in the Midlands region.
The project will also include the installation of an eddy covariance flux tower at a designated raised bog site to monitor the fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).
The restoration programme could provide for up to 70 jobs in the midlands region across a range of professions including machine operators, engineers, hydrologists, ecologists, environmental scientists, site supervisors, community liaison personnel and in evaluating amenity development potential across the project area.
Minister Josepha Madigan commented: “Peatlands are hugely valuable ecosystems, important for preserving biodiversity and help to address climate change. Restoring our protected raised bogs will ensure that the carbon content of the peat within each bog is stored in perpetuity.
“The national protected raised bog restoration programme links directly to an action in the Climate Action Plan 2019 for the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to restore/rewet approximately 22,107 hectares of protected raised bog.
“Functioning peatlands capture (sequester) carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the form of peat and vegetation. When peatlands are drained or damaged, the peat oxidises and the carbon is released back to the atmosphere. Peat oxidation can be stopped or reduced through the restoration of sites and hydrological management measures. It is essential to keep the carbon stored in the ground and restore/rehabilitate their hydrological balance (i.e. water must be maintained close to the peatland surface over most of the year) to return degraded peatlands to sinks or carbon neutral systems.”