Lough Carra Catchment Association forms in Mayo
In spite of a biting wind and threatening storm there was a great turn out at Corley’s Bar, Ballintubber Co. Mayo on the evening of Wednesday 28th February to begin the process of forming the Lough Carra Catchment Association. The turnout on the night was evidence of the interest and support for improving the quality of the water environment of both Lough Carra, and the wider catchment.
Lough Carra is listed as a priority Area for Action under the forthcoming River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018 – 2021 and its Programme of Measures. This will see further investigative assessment to identify sources of the pressures affecting water quality across the catchment, coupled with measures to address those pressures, i.e. ‘the right measure in the right place’.
Plans for this community meeting began some months before when members of the local community contacted Mick Kane, Community Water Officer, who is based with Mayo County Council in Castlebar. The community expressed that they would like to form a group to represent the interests of people living in the Lough Carra catchment, working to improve the area for amenity purposes and for wildlife.
Local communities from across the catchment were represented at the meeting such as; Ballintubber, Partry, Carnacon etc, and there were plenty of apologies from those who could not travel due to the weather. Government agencies were also represented, such as IFI, EPA, and Teagasc. Both staff and Elected Members of Mayo County Council were present, which is evidence of strong support by the Local Authority, and staff from GMIT and IFA also attended.
Martin Keating, Head of Environment, Climate Action and Agriculture section, Mayo County Council opened the meeting and highlighted the Local Authorities support for this initiative and its commitment to a community led approach to catchment management. Mick Kane, Community Water Officer gave a presentation about the role of the Waters and Communities Office to support local communities to get initiatives such as this off the ground, and how the Lough Carra Catchment has been identified as a Recommended Area for Action, which in turn will bring more focus on water quality in the area. Then Larry Walsh, Senior Executive Scientist. Mayo County Council spoke about the role of the Local Authority in Catchment Management, and with the implementation of the Programme of Measures under the River Basin Management Plan.
There was very positive discussion and interaction between the local community and the public agencies and it was proposed to hold a follow up meeting in the coming weeks to formally establish the Lough Carra Catchment Association. Many thanks to Hugh and staff at Corley’s Bar for keeping everyone supplied with cups of tea, sambos and scones on such a cold night. Of course, this meeting would not have happened without the commitment of members of the local community, so well done to all involved.
More news on this will follow over the coming weeks and months.