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 Results Based Farm Scheme Presentation

The Pearl Mussel Project have developed a presentation with further details of the proposed results based farm scheme to help protect freshwater pearl mussel in the top eight catchments in Ireland. 

A PDF of the presentation can be downloaded here

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Freshwater Pearl Mussel Conference - Connemara Green Festival

An interesting series of talks were presented at the Connemara Green Festival last Friday in Letterfrack focusing on the conservation of freshwater pearl mussel in Ireland.

We had lots of interesting feedback on the Pearl Mussel Project given by Derek McLoughlin from PMP and on the wonderful presentations from Marie Louise Heffernan, Bernie Whyte (LAWSAT) and Catherine Seale (LAWCO). Their was a good range of attendees including local farmers, businesses and fisheries owners. Brendan O’Malley of FORUM was an excellent chair for the session. Great to see the positive approach of the Dawros and surrounding catchment communities. Unfortunately due to bad weather and high river levels (good for the mussels... dangerous for humans) the excursion to Dawros River had to be cancelled.

Many thanks to Marie Louise, Janet and Letterfrack Tidy Towns for organising and running the conference which was a great success.

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Catchment survey of Glaskeelan, Co. Donegal

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Staff from the Pearl Mussel Project, including Patrick Crushell and Derek McLoughlin and one of our project advisor, Dr Dolores Byrne from IT Sligo, have been undertaking surveys in the Glaskeelan catchment in Co. Donegal over the last few days to assess catchment and habitat conditions for the conservation of freshwater pearl mussel. Surveys were also undertaken on the pilot farm being established within the catchment to assess farm guidelines proposals. 

Lough Inshagh, shown in the image above, is the source of the Glaskeelan River and is located within the Glenveagh National Park.

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Job Opportunity - Catchment Officers

megaphoneReminder that the closing date for application for the two posts is: 12th October 2018

The Pearl Mussel Project are recruiting two catchment officers with agri-environmental backgrounds: one officer to work the southern (south Kerry and west Cork) area based in the Kerry office, and one officer in the western (Mayo, Galway, Donegal) area based in the Mayo office. The successful applicants will work as key members of the project team and will report to the Project Manager. The role will require the successful candidate to travel between the four catchments in their respective areas on a regular basis, and they will likely spend a high proportion of time out of the office.

Detailed job description, experience required and application details can be downloaded here.  

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Mayo Farmers visit Pearl Mussel Project in Kerry

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We enjoyed presenting our project plan to a group of Mayo farmers visiting Kerry as part of a three day study tour funded by the HeritageCouncil. Thanks to the team from KerryLIFE for demonstrating the great progress and work they’ve done in the Caragh catchment.

The group of over 20 attendees visited John Griffin’s farm in Glencar where various measures aimed at improving conditions for freshwater pearl mussel were demonstrated including; a nose pump water supply for cattle, fencing, and management of livestock at watercourse crossings. Some of the farmers visiting were from the Bundorragha catchment, one of our top eight pearl mussel catchments, and we look forward to working with them on our project. Delighted that two landowners from another top eight catchment, Ownagappul, Ardgroom, County Cork, were also able to attend. Apart from some issues crossing watercourses, the days study tour was a great success !

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Pearl Mussel Project results based farm scheme

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The Pearl Mussel Project team are currently working on the development of the results based farm scheme. The aim of the scheme is to reward farmers for enhancing the local environment for the benefit of Freshwater Pearl Mussel.

In developing the scheme, we are designing a scoring system that will allow us to measure the environmental benefit provided by any given farmer. This result will then inform the level of payment due to that farmer.

We are also deciding on appropriate actions or measures that will help farmers to achieve better environmental results. These measures may include such things as: blocking drains in wetland areas to restore river flow, reducing nutrient inputs, provision of alternative drinking facilities, and controlling livestock access to rivers. Depending on the measure the cost of carrying out the work may be covered entirely or in part by the project.

With the agreement of nine farmers we are now trialing our methods on selected pilot farms located in each of the eight catchments. Following these initial trials we will be holding public meetings where local farmers will be given an opportunity to input into the design of the scheme.

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Connemara Green Festival 2018 supporting the conservation of Freshwater Pearl Mussel

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The Connemara Green Festival celebrates Mother Nature, aims to raise awareness of the unique ecology of Connemara and raise funds for biodiversity projects. The festival is now in it’s 4th year.

The theme this year is ‘Eating for Conservation’ and the festival will raise funds for awareness of the conservation of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel.

The festival takes place from Friday 12th October to Sunday 14th October and is based in Letterfrack village, Connemara, at the foot of the majestic Connemara National Park on the Wild Atlantic Way. A day long conference: Understanding the habitat of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel takes place on the 12th October and will include a lecture presented by Dr Derek McLoughlin, project scientists with the Pearl Mussel Project.

Further details of all events planned can be found at: https://connemaragreenfestival.ie/

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Job opportunities: Catchment Officers (Agri-environmental)

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Employer: The Pearl Mussel Project Limited

Location: Kenmare, County Kerry / Westport, County Mayo

Job Type: 5 Year fixed term contract, full time

Salary: €35,000 / annum (excl. travel expenses)

Closing date: 12th October 2018

Role / Position: The Pearl Mussel Project is a locally led European Innovation Partnership (EIP) jointly funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which aims to establish a voluntary results-based agri-environmental scheme for farmers within eight priority catchments. The overall aim of the scheme is to promote farm management tailored to maintaining and improving the local environment with a view to securing the long term conservation of freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) in Ireland.

We are currently recruiting two catchment officers with agri-environmental backgrounds: one officer to work the southern (south Kerry and west Cork) area based in the Kerry office, and one officer in the western (Mayo, Galway, Donegal) area based in the Mayo office. The successful applicants will work as key members of the project team and will report to the Project Manager. The role will require the successful candidate to travel between the four catchments in their respective areas on a regular basis, and they will likely spend a high proportion of time out of the office.

Detailed job description, experience required and application details can be downloaded here.  

#pearlmusselproject #musselrivers #EIP-Agri

Pearl Mussel Project at AranLIFE Conference

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Pearl Mussel Project were delighted to attend the AranLIFE conference on Inis Mór this week. It was a great opportunity to learn about the project and its operation, both from the project team and participant farmers.  We were also lucky enough to be brought on farm walks where we saw the results of scrub clearance, new and repaired rain catchers, and grazing management. We hope the AranLIFE team have continued success with their EIP project which will build on the work done so far. We’re very grateful for the invitation and many thanks to the AranLIFE staff agus míle buíochas do féirmeoirí Árainn.

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Droimeann cattle recognised as native breed

The Pearl Mussel Project were delighted to attend the launch of the Droimeann Cattle Society Herd Book in Ballyvollane House, Co. Cork on the 22 August. It was only fitting that the launch of the herd book should be held in Ballyvollane House which is home to a gin distillery producing Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin. The Gin’s namesake is Big Bertha, a Droimeann cow from Sneem who lived to be 48 years of age (the world’s oldest cow!!).

Droimeann cattle have recently been recognised as a distinct native breed by the Department of Agriculture and the launch of the herd book will facilitate the ongoing purity of this rare Irish breed. Droimeann cattle are small to medium in size, hardy and can be wintered outdoors. They perform better than other breeds on poor quality forage which they can easily convert to milk and meat. These traits mean that this breed could be ideal for grazing in our catchment areas, maintaining good quality habitats, while having a lower impact than continental breeds. 

We hope to work with the Droimeann Cattle Society in the future to develop the potential of this breed to be used for conservation grazing while ensuring the survival of Droimeann cattle in Ireland.

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© Pearl Mussel Project Ltd 2018