The CatchmentCare project is nearing completion with the Elatagh instream habitat improvement works along a 3.4km stretch on the Elatagh River, Co. Donegal, and the benefits are already evident.
Sharon McMahon, Loughs Agency CEO said: "Loughs Agency is committed to working with partners, stakeholders and landowners in the Finn catchment to achieve the goals of the CatchmentCare project. These initial results indicate the immense and immediate benefits of the project and the advantages of using green engineering solutions to support biodiversity, particularly salmonids.”
The CatchmentCARE team has installed several habitat restoration measures along the Elatagh River. These measures include pinning of woody material, wetland installation, gravel regrading, installation of rubble mats, limestone deflectors and artificial pool creation. The instream works have transformed a section of the river that was narrow, fast-flowing, and in some places shallow into a stretch with a variety of flows and depths, increasing the microhabitat diversity.
After conducting their annual redd count survey on the Elatagh River, Loughs Agency Fishery Officers reported on the benefits of the work for spawning salmonids. The survey recorded seven redds in an area that historically did not support any spawning. They also recorded that an area of the river that historically had a maximum of 12 redds now supports 30 redds.
These results are an early and positive indication that the works carried out by CatchmentCARE are having a positive effect on the areas targeted. Loughs Agency will continue to monitor and report the impacts of the implemented improvements through the annual freshwater fisheries monitoring programme.