See all the latest news about the Pearl Mussel Project. Remember you can also check out the latest news on our Facebook page (links opposite).

Launch of Pearl Mussel Programme Web Map

PMP have just launched a web based mapping application for use by farm advisors working on the Programme. The map has been developed by our Project Team using the ESRI @ArcGISOnline platform. Following farm visits, trained advisors will use the map to submit all data including score cards, supporting actions, and notable farm features. The secure map, that is accessed via any web browser on desktop or mobile devices, will streamline the process of submitting data needed to determine the result-based payment due to the farmer. 

The information will also form the basis of the annual works plan. This plan will detail certain actions to be completed by the farmer with a view to improving their annual score and associated payment.

@EsriIreland @ArcGISOnline @Esri @agriculture_ie #EIPagri #pearlmusselproject  #musselrivers 

PMP programme news sheet June 2019

PMP have been busy over the last few weeks getting contract offers out to farmers to join the Pearl Mussel Programme, processing the returned contracts and handling administratve issues. It has meant a lot of postal work ! Here are some facts about the programme to date.


Number of expressions of interest received from farmers: 465

Number of contract offers made by PMP to farmers to join the programme: 365

Contract offers across the various project catchments:

  • Blackwater, Kerry: 58
  • Bundorragha, Mayo: 54
  • Caragh, Kerry: 64
  • Currane, Kerry: 49
  • Dawros, Galway: 46
  • Glaskeelan, Donegal: 13
  • Owenriff, Galway: 40
  • Owenagappul, Cork: 41

  • Number of returned contract offers received by PMP to date: over 200

  • Total area of private land under offer: 16,383ha (total in PMP catchments 26,740ha) - 61% of private farmland in catchments is currently under offer.
  • Total area of priority commonage under offer: 5,022ha (total in PMP catchments 14,016ha) - 36% of commonage land in catchments currently under offer.
  • Total area of farmland under offer: 21,405ha (total in PMP catchments 40,756ha) - 53% of farmland under offer across all catchments.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIPagri #RuralNetwork @agriculture_ie

Calling all commercial sheep-dip operators

Sheep Dippers poster2

Drainage feature mapping in PMP catchments

Over the last few weeks, Cathal Dowling and Mark O’Connor have been carrying out important baseline surveys of watercourses throughout our 8 PMP catchments. 

These surveys, that are identifying previously unmapped watercourses, will help identify connectivity and pathways to Freshwater Pearl Mussel habitat. This information on the drainage network, will help inform appropriate catchment wide farm management. In addition, it is hoped that the baseline data will prove useful in monitoring the success of the Pearl Mussel Programme.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIPagri #RuralNetwork @agriculture_ie


Cathal Ownagappul

All PMP contract offers posted

Farm plan postage

Following a review of 462 expression of interest forms received by the PMP, we have now sent out 365 contract offers to farmers within our catchment areas. The offers include a farm plan which shows farm details and outlines potential payments. As it is a results based programme, the actual payment to farmers will depend on the environmental quality of their farms. 

We urge farmers to accept offers as soon as possible by returning completed forms so that advisors can start to assess the results. 

All unsuccessful applicants will be notified in the coming days. There will be further recruitment into the Programme early next year when we will be reassess this years unsuccessful applicants and any new expressions of interest received between now and then.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIPagri #RuralNetwork @agriculture_ie

Exciting MSc/PhD opportunity working on ecosystem services in Freshwater Pearl Mussel catchments

Research opportunity

The Pearl Mussel Project in partnership with Institute of Technology, Sligo are inviting interested Msc/PhD applicants to apply for a position to investigating terrestrial ecosystem services of freshwater pearl mussel catchments, with regard to the novel European Innovation Partnership approach for incentivising farm management benefiting the endangered freshwater pearl mussel in Ireland. The MSc/PhD will be centered on the farmland enrolled in the Freshwater Pearl Mussel project, primarily in the Glaskeelan catchment, Co. Donegal and the Bundorragha, Dawros and Owenriff catchments, Co. Mayo.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIPagri @CERIS_ITSligo @MfrcGmit 


Project Title:  Investigating terrestrial ecosystem services of freshwater pearl mussel catchments, with regard to the novel European Innovation Partnership approach for incentivising farm management benefiting the endangered freshwater pearl mussel


Applications are invited for an MSc/PhD position at Institute of Technology, Sligo. The MSc/PhD is in partnership with the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project ( The Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project is a European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture Productivity and Sustainability (EIP AGRI) which aims to ensure long term coexistence of farming and freshwater pearl mussel in eight priority catchment areas in the west of Ireland. The project works as a practical partnership with a results-based approach to farming aimed at delivering biodiversity, ecosystem services and community engagement. The MSc/PhD will be centered on the farmland enrolled in the Freshwater Pearl Mussel project, primarily in the Glaskeelan catchment, Co. Donegal and the Bundorragha, Dawros and Owenriff catchments, Co. Mayo. The marginal farmland is of high nature value, capable of supporting low intensity agricultural production and in addition, high levels of biodiversity. The balance between the ecosystem service provision is finely nuanced, and alterations towards intensification, extensification or in some cases, abandonment, can potentially impact on quality of provision. This proposed study will build upon existing knowledge of catchment level approaches for the conservation of freshwater pearl mussel and will develop new and practical measures for assessing land use optimisation in respect of conservation outcomes. The proposed objectives of the PhD are:

·       Quantify and map the ecosystem service provision from farmed catchment areas which support the top Freshwater Pearl Mussel populations through a map-based assessment using direct and proxy data from available national datasets and the Pearl Mussel Project.

·       Assess and evaluate, using both desk-based and field based surveys, catchment level spatial overlap, synergies and trade-offs in ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation.

·       Results-based agri-environment measures testing and refinement of scorecards for multiple ecosystem service provision.


·       Must hold an Honours Degree (minimum 2:2, but 2:1 or higher is desirable) in environmental science, ecology, agricultural science or related discipline.

·       Full clean driver’s license.

·       Plant identification and vegetation analysis.

·       GIS experience and working knowledge of statistics.

·       Willingness to undertake field work in remote locations.

·       Knowledge and keen interest in the ecological management of farmland habitats and associated species.

·       Ability to work as part of a team.

·       Good interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.

If either English or Irish is not the applicant’s first language, a certificate of language ability in either language is required. IELTS level 6.0 or equivalent is mandatory for those presenting with English as a foreign language.

For further information, please email Dr. Dolores Byrne at

Mayo advisor training days test PMP waterproof scorecards

Final two days of PMP farm advisor training in Galway/Mayo ended in the Bundorragha catchment, County Mayo yesterday. Well done to all for braving the weather. We were delighted with how our waterproof scorecards performed in the soft conditions! 

Over 55 of Ireland’s top farm advisors have been trained up in delivering our results-based Programme. Now the real work starts as we begin to assess results on our participant farms.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIPagri #RuralNetwork @agriculture_ie

Mayo Field Advisor Course 2019b

Mayo Field Advisor Course 2019

Mayo Field Advisor Course 2019c

Mayo Field Advisor Course 2019d

Farm Advisor field training course in Donegal

The Pearl Mussel Project Team had a great couple of days in Donegal training farm advisors. We are delighted with the positive response and engagement from advisors taking part in the programme. Huge thanks to Victor and Michelle in Wilkins Bar and Lounge, Churchill for their hospitality and to James Forrest for allowing us to use his farm to carry out the field training. We now have approx 35 farm advisors who have completed the Pearl Mussel Advisor training. We are in Galway/Mayo today and Thursday for the final two days of training.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIPagri #RuralNetwork @agriculture_ie

Donegal Farm Adv Training May 2019h

Donegal Farm Adv Training May 2019d

Donegal Farm Adv Training May 2019e

Donegal Farm Adv Training May 2019g

Pearl Mussel Programme contract offers are in the post !

Busy day in the office with the first 130 contract offers being sent to farmers. The packs include a farm plan, terms and conditions, and various forms that need to be completed and returned to the project team. Further contract offers will issue over the next two weeks so don’t worry if you don’t receive one this week. Important that farmers who wish to accept the offer nominate an advisor as soon as possible so work can start on farm assessments for 2019.

First Contract Offer Mailing 2019

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIPagri #RuralNetwork @agriculture_ie

Freshwater Pearl Mussel presentation in Sneem

We were delighted to give a talk on Freshwater Pearl Mussel in Sneem last night as part of #BiodiversityWeek2019. Great so many interested members of community there. Many thanks to Jane O'Sullivan for organising and sharing her photos.

KerryLIFE Kerry Local Authorities.

Sneem 2019 PMP Talkb

Sneem 2019 PMP Talk2b

© Pearl Mussel Project Ltd 2018