News

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).

Pearl Mussel Project at National Ploughing Championships

Why not come by and visit the Pearl Mussel Project team information stand at the show and learn more about the results based farm scheme to help enhance environmental condition for freshwater pearl mussel. Visit us at the National Ploughing Championships Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly on 18th-20th September 2018.

Pearl Mussel Project Visits Ennerdale Valley and the River Ehen

Great to join the KerryLIFE team on study tour of the Ennerdale Valley and River Ehen in England’s Lake District, led by Evelyn Moorkens and Ian Killeen. Some great examples of practical measures being taken to restore freshwater pearl mussel habitat.

Wetlands and seepage zones along rivers can play important role in supporting juvenile pearl mussel habitat. Excellent examples of this were demonstrated to us along the River Ehen, where a water company (United Utilities) has purchased such habitat to compensate effects of water abstraction on this important freshwater pearl mussel river. The pearl mussel project intent to reward farmers for maintaining and enhancing these important habitats. We will give other examples of the great work done by other groups in the area including Wild Ennerdale and the Pearls in Peril EU Life project.

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Pearl mussels thrive in rivers with high water quality. Note the clear water and absence of algae suggesting both low suspended solids and nutrient levels.

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Floodplain wetland (species rich wet grassland, fen and flushed habitats) play a vital role in supporting juvenile pearl mussel habitat.

#musselrivers #pearlmusselproject

Drought conditions testing freshwater pearl mussel in the Ownagappul

Project Manager Patrick Crushell visited the Ownagappul river in Co. Cork yesterday - and conditions are looking tough for pearl mussel as river levels have dropped significantly due to the recent dry spell. As he reports in his message "Main channel of the Ownagappul River today.... very little water, occasional mussels where shallow water persists".

And as you can see in the second photo, some mussels have migrated to the deepest part of the channel to have the best chance of surviving the drought. Hopefully we get rain soon.....

#musselrivers #pearlmusselproject

Ownagappul drought 14.7.2018


Ownagappul migrating mussels 14.7.2018

National Rural Network Irish EIP-AGRI Operational Groups

The Pearl Mussel Project has been included on the National Rural Network Irish EIP-AGRI Operational Groups. 

Check out our freshwater pearl mussel project and other Irish projects on https://www.nationalruralnetwork.ie/innovation

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIP-Agri

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New €10 million project to reward farmers for environmental enhancement in priority river catchments

Pearl Mussels Launch

Press Release

2 July 2018

New €10 million project to reward farmers for environmental enhancement in priority river catchments

Wetland Surveys Ireland, a Kerry based environmental consultancy together with a team of expert advisors, have been appointed to administer the 'Pearl Mussel Project', a new €10 million locally led scheme for farmers. The overall aim of the project is to reward farmers for improving the local environment with a view to ensuring the long term survival of freshwater pearl mussels in Ireland. The scheme will be open to farmers across eight priority catchments in counties Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, and Donegal.

Freshwater pearl mussels are a large species of mussel that occur in very clean streams, rivers, and occasionally lakes. They are Ireland’s longest-living animal with lifespans of over 120 years being recorded. Despite large numbers remaining in some rivers, they have declined dramatically in the last century and are currently on the verge of extinction due to the fact that no young mussels are surviving to adulthood in many rivers. The eight priority rivers in the scheme are known to support the largest remaining populations of the legally protected mussel in Ireland.

The Pearl Mussel Project will work closely with local farmers in each area providing them with an opportunity to be recognized and financially rewarded for delivering environmental benefits. Dr Patrick Crushell, Project Manager, stated “We aim to develop a scheme that is attractive to farmers by rewarding them for improving the local environment. Enhancing farmland habitats within the catchments will have a positive influence on the river and in turn the endangered freshwater pearl mussel, which is a key species that indicates a very clean and healthy environment of great benefit to wider society. It is right that farmers should be adequately rewarded for providing this important and valuable product”.

The scheme is currently being designed by the project team with input from farmers, advisors, and researchers. Consultation meetings with farmers in each local area will be held later in the year to inform them of the project and to gain an understanding of their views, concerns, and hopes for the scheme.

Further information is available on the recently launched project website (PearlMusselProject.ie) where maps can be viewed to check eligibility and there is also a facility to register interest. The Pearl Mussel Project is an EIP (European Innovation Partnership) locally led scheme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as part of Ireland's Rural Development Programme 2014-20.

ENDS

Relevant maps and photos available on request.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIP-agr

Pearl Mussel Project at Teagasc Beef Show

Teagasc Beef Show 2018
Teagasc Beef Show June 2018

Smashing weather at the Teagasc Open Day BEEF2018 in Grange, Co. Meath today and a great opportunity for team members to meet with farmers and hear about their views on joining the scheme. Good chance to meet other groups including Farming with Nature - BRIDE Project, Ballinderry Rivers Trust, and The Waters and Communities Office.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #beef2018

Pearl Mussel Project attends RBAPS project seminar

RBAPS 2018

Members of the Pearl Mussel Project attended the RBAPS (Results Based Agri-environmental Payment Schemes) project seminar in the Hudson Bay Hotel, Athlone, to publicise our project and make contacts with other groups running similar schemes who have gained valuable experiences, from which the Pearl Mussel Project could benefit fromThe results of the presentations convinced everyone of the value of the results based approach than ever, whereby the better the environmental result (or product), the higher the payment to farmer. Super advice provided by RBAPS Co. Leitrim, Hen Harrier Project, AranLIFE in their presentations, on designing and implementing results based agri-environmental schemes. Now time to develop the Pearl Mussel Project results based scheme to help improve environmental conditions for our freshwater pearl mussel!!

About RBAPS:

Results-based schemes are a farmer-centered approach to farming and conservation, which sees farmers paid for both work undertaken and, most importantly, for the quality of delivery of the environmental results.

Over the course of 3.5 years, the Results-based Agri-environmental Payment Scheme (RBAPS) project trialled a mode of paying farmers for the quality of biodiversity on their farms in three differing pilot locations of County Leitrim and the Shannon Callow floodplain in Ireland, and the Navarra region of Spain.

This seminar presents the experiences of the RBAPS and other projects, including the AranLife project and the Hen Harrier and BRIDE EIPs, and will explore how payments for the quality of farmland biodiversity can work in reality.

This event is aimed at anyone interested in the future of agri-environment schemes, particularly farmers, farming authorities, farm advisors, administrators and those interested in European Innovation Partnerships, particularly those with a biodiversity focus.

https://rbaps.eu

Pearl Mussel Project at Teagasc farm open days

Dates for your diary:

The Pearl Mussel Project team will be hosting an information stand at the following Teagasc open days:

Teagasc Beef 2018 Open Day - for beef farmers in Grange, Co. Meath on 26th of June

Teagasc Sheep 2018 Open Day - for sheep farmers in Athenry on the 7th of July

#BEEF2018 and  #SHEEP2018    

Pearl mussel survey techniques

Members of the Pearl Mussel Project team undertook a day long training workshop on survey techniques for freshwater pearl mussel in the Kerry Blackwater catchment yesterday. The course was presented by Dr. Evelyn Moorkens with assistance from Kerry LIFE project staff, and included wading and snorkeling techniques, use of bathoscope for counting mussels, working with the bank manager who records counts and health and safety issues. All of the team passed the course and obtained their survey licences.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers

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Pearl Mussel Project launch

The Pearl Mussel Project team and project special advisors attended the first meeting of the project in Kenmare today. During the day long meeting a series of excellent presentations were given on the Pearl Mussel Project plans (Patrick Crushell), the biology and threats to pearl mussel (Evelyn Moorkens), farm plan guidelines (Derek McLoughlin) and lessons to be learned from the Kerry LIFE project (Richard O’Callaghan). 

The indoor session was followed by a visit to one of the Kerry LIFE demonstration farms in the Kerry Blackwater catchment to see how farm plans have been successfully introduced on one of the farms in the scheme with the help of one of local farmers, Mr. Dan O'Sullivan.

Attendees included: PMP: Patrick Crushell (Project Manager), Derek McLoughlin (Project Scientist), Peter Foss (Publicity and Administrator), Mary Catherine Gallagher (Project Ecologist), Con Curtin (Agri Consultant to PMP), Brendan Kirwan (Project Ecologist, WSI), Daireann McDonnell (Project expert advisor). 

Kerry Life: Richard O'Callaghan (Project Manager), Paul Phelan (Project Scientist), Padraig Cronin (Farm Advisor).

The overriding message from the day for the future of Freshwater Pearl Mussel in Ireland was summed up by Dr. Evelyn Moorkens: 

Fix river flows - fix everything.

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers

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© Pearl Mussel Project Ltd 2018