Life Project on Raheenmore

We are not the first project to work on restoring Raheenmore. The Dutch-Irish Conservation teams carried out extensive research and minor works from 1989 onwards.

A Raised Bog Restoration Project, assisted by the EU Cohesion Fund, commenced in 1994 and ran up to the end of 1999. Both Clara and Raheenmore Bogs were included in the programme. Conservation works on Raheenmore involved the blocking of drains, construction of dams and research and monitoring activities. Both high bog drainage blocking and construction of dams on the cutover were reported as positive management actions under Restoring/Improving the hydrological regime and an increase in the area of Active Raised Bog was noticed.

The current ‘Living Bog’ conservation objective for Raheenmore Bog is to restore the area of Active Raised Bog (ARB) to the area present when the Habitats Directive came into force in 1994.

In the case of Active Raised Bog, the objective also includes the restoration of Degraded Raised Bog. The Area objective for ARB is approx. 70.63ha (comprising 68.72ha on high bog and 1.91ha on cutover).

The objective in relation to Structure and Functions (S&Fs) is that at least half of the ARB area should be made up of the central ecotope and active flush (i.e. the wetter vegetation communities). These values have been set as Favourable Reference Values.

Degraded Raised Bog still capable of regeneration should be, according to the interpretation manual, capable of regeneration to ‘active raised bog’ in 30 years if appropriate measures are put in place. The remaining non-active high bog is considered supporting habitat for the Annex I habitats on the high bog. This supporting habitat is an essential part of the hydrological unit necessary to support Active and Degraded Raised Bog habitats.

The restoration of suitable cutover areas is essential for Active Raised Bog to achieve the favourable conservation condition at the site. Nevertheless it is acknowledged that a long period of time (i.e. over 30 years) may be needed after appropriate restoration works are undertaken on the cutover areas for the habitat to develop.

A Drainage Management Plan will be put in place.

There has been a slight increase in the area of Active Raised Bog (0.81ha) at Raheenmore in the 2004 to 2011 period. Some changes have been noted near dams at the edge of the high bog built as part of the restoration works carried out between 1994 and 1999. Cutover drainage continues to be the highest negatively impacting activity on Active Raised Bog at the site. Only a few drains on the high bog remain functional, and high bog drains have continued infilling in the 2004-2011 period. No fire events have affected the bog in the reporting period and peat cutting no longer takes place at the site.

Full details of the restoration works to be carried out by the ‘Living Bog’ LIFE project will be published here shortly, but there are hundreds of metres of drains to be blocked on the high bog and thousands on the cutover. We currently estimate the construction of hundreds of peat dams with some plastic dams inserted where machines cannot go.