Loughs Agency's Habitat Improvement Strategy sets out its commitment to fisheries habitat enhancement. It outlines works associated with conserving, protecting, and improving the abundance and distribution of wild salmon and trout in Foyle and Carlingford's freshwater catchments.
Within the Drumragh catchment, Loughs Agency invested £12,000 during 2020 in several tailored habitat enhancement projects. The Drumragh catchment comprises a series of branching river systems such as the Seskinore River, Routing Burn, Quiggery River and Owenreagh River.
Through habitat surveys and angling club engagement, Loughs Agency assessed that the Aghlisk River, a tributary of the Owenreagh, had severe erosion issues. Entire banks had collapsed into the river, causing siltation of spawning areas. The erosion was also being acerbated by livestock trampling the riverbank due to a lack of riparian fencing.
The Agency worked in partnership with local landowners to install 310m of fencing to prevent livestock from accessing the river bank and to create a natural buffer. 150m of bank revetment work was also completed to combat erosion.
On the Quiggery River, 30 metres of collapsed bank was reinstated using root wads and fencing reinstalled following a flood which caused a large area of bank to slip into the river.
Seamus Cullinan, Fishery Inspector at Loughs Agency, said 'These works will boost the rivers' ecological status, ensuring salmon and trout requirements for the various stages in their lifecycle are met without hindering drainage. The riparian fencing and revetment works will improve water quality, increase bank stability, reduce erosion risk, support biodiversity, and protect the watercourses indigenous fish populations'.
For more information on Loughs Agency's habitat enhancement work or to read the full case study for the Drumragh catchment, please visit www.loughs-agency.org.