Here’s the thing about Environmental Protection: you often don’t know what you have ’til its gone, and once it’s gone, it can’t be easily replaced.
So, before ever we turned a sod, before ever a digger entered the banks of the canal, we set about surveying what was there, planning how to minimise the disturbance to it, and how best to preserve the high quality habitats which had grown up along the canal as it lay undisturbed.
An initial Ecological Survey was commissioned from Flynn Furney. This not only told us what we had, but noted specific items which ought to be retained, as well as advised on how to minimise the disturbance to the ecology as we came through.
Joe Shannon of Birdwatch Ireland conducted a Bird Survey for us, and found 42 species of birds on his travels, including kingfishers and grey herons
Carmel Brennan of the Action for Biodiversity project plotted the invasive plant species to be found along the route and advised on how best to deal with them.
Dr Tina Aughney of Bat Conservation Ireland surveyed the route and found 5 of Ireland’s 7 bat species along it
Flynn Furney conducted a badger survey, to identify the location of setts and determine if they would be disturbed. 2 occupied setts were found, and the contractors were careful not to go near them during the construction works.