Loughs Agency has invested over £80,000 in habitat enhancement projects in the River Roe catchment area during the past two years.
More than 20 sites within the Roe catchment were prioritised by the Agency as a result of an assessment process conducted with habitat surveys and local angling club engagement. Investment since 2019 included installing 6,500m of riparian fencing along the Bovevagh, Castle, Lynn, Owenbeg and Woodburn rivers and adjacent to the main River Roe itself.
Native trees planted previously to increase tree cover in the Roe's upper reaches have been pruned to encourage growth, and around 4,000 tree guards were removed. Instream works were also completed in the headwaters to ensure suitable spawning habitat for salmonids.
The area is of special scientific interest (ASSI) because of the river's physical features and its associated riverine flora and fauna. It is noted in particular for the population of Atlantic Salmon, which is of international importance.
Riparian fencing, tree planting and associated works will improve water quality with increased bank stability and reduced erosion risk. Biodiversity support, protection of invertebrates and indigenous fish populations in the River Roe and its tributaries are all key features of ongoing river restoration in the catchment area.
Roly Wysner, Fishery Inspector at Loughs Agency, said: “The positive engagement between Loughs Agency and landowners cannot be understated. We worked with landowners who were very willing to participate and understood the rationale for the installations. They appreciated how it would feed into achieving sustainable management of both the riparian and aquatic habitats.”
Local club Roe Angling Ltd welcomed the projects. A spokesperson said: “At a time when our rivers generally are under threat from a number of sources, this work by Loughs Agency will hopefully prove its worth in the years ahead and help sustain this valuable resource. The success of this programme is also indicative of the positive relationship that exists between Loughs Agency and landowners.”
Loughs Agency's Habitat Improvement Strategy outlines works associated with conserving, protecting, and improving the abundance and distribution of wild salmon and trout in Foyle and Carlingford's freshwater catchments.
For more information on Loughs Agency's habitat enhancement work or to read the full case study for the Roe catchment, please visit the habitat section of the website.