A brief update as the awareness grows and the sun begins to shine on a whole new era of positive undertakings that were long overdue here in the Lee valley.
Five years ago when I started out researching the RIVER RUNNER , trying to extract concrete information out of people was like pulling old deeply rooted teeth.
Nobody really wanted to talk about water quality that Cork County Council siphon off the eutrophic, silted, dead lakes of Inniscarra , treat with chemicals and sell on to Corkonians. Nobody was terribly sure how wild our wild Atlantic salmon are and what kind of a life cycle they really have. We now know most of them on the Lee are hand squeezed out of the belly of a lethargic spent female who gets chucked back into the wild after being man handled. Fin clipped and supposedly nose tagged our modern day methods are designed to monitor and presumably improve circumstances for these wild age old creatures, salmo salar, the kings and queens of fish?
The law of the land states one cannot impede the passage of our migratory fish ,eel and lamprey ? Five major Irish rivers are dammed for hydro electricity. Beyond a shadow of a doubt the so called Borland Fish Pass system on the Lee is an age old mechanism that defies all the natural laws of Nature and acts soley as a silly token gesture, pretending that we are fulfilling our legal obligations, just in case anybody asks?
The somewhat scenic stretch of water outside Macroom was for many years a mystery to me and despite 30 public screenings of the film over the last two years, over 100 articles in the local and national newspapers, a 10 minute national TV programme, there are still thousands of people who are unaware of the rarity and ecological importance of the Gearagh inland forest delta. Once again for the record, scientifically proven this is the very last remaining tract of ANCIENT WOODLAND in Ireland, that is untouched since the ice retreated 10,000 years ago. It should be a celebrated national treasure.
The good news is that long weary campaigns fought around the country by a handful of concerned ecolgists , who have felt for many years that their work was in vain, are beginning to see that a new era for our river systems is positively dawning.
The internets double edged sword is most definitely the turbo trigger for this new chapter. It is my firm belief that once one gets the information across the overloaded information divide, to reach peoples front of mind, the tide starts turning. Persistence is the key to this.
During the past week alone the first week of October 2016 the following developments have occurred.
*Liadh Ni Riada MEP confirmed that an application for a development plan in the upper Lee valley, namely The Gearagh SAC, has been submitted by her to the European Commission. She has also announced the first of a series of public meetings for the Macroom area regarding The Gearagh in the Town Hall, Macroom on November 17th at 8 pm.
*ESB International and the NPWS have confirmed that “initial scoping” work by ecologists is underway regarding the upper Lee valley, as requested by the EU Environmental Commission. This will be the one to watch closely as it involves the decision makers of our land.
*Dr. Simon Harrison , Ecologist at UCC has confirmed that a cross departmental workshop focusing on the Upper catchment of the River Lee, has been initiated in conjunction with the Environmental Research Institute in UCC. He has also confirmed the publication of a very important doctoral thesis on the Ancient Woodland of the Gearagh by a former student Aileen Cudmore. This scientific undertaking should be the foundation on which we redefine the River Lee into the future.
* A new Community Water Officer , Kieran Murphy has been appointed whose primary role will be to provide on the ground support to communities in the delivery of Water Framework Directive objectives (i.e. good water ecological status). Therefore, projects ranging from pollution mitigation and control, habitat improvement, biodiversity conservation, invasive species control and public awareness will be developed and supported where possible with local communities. This comes with full internet platform support :
*A new project part of a PhD program undertaken by Siobhan Atkinson called ‘Reconnect’ has been launched, and the overall goal of the project is to develop a validated methodology for prioritising a selection of barriers for modification or removal to improve hydro-morphology and connectivity in Irish rivers. As you can imagine, locating and mapping river barriers is a big job. To help map barriers and to help create awareness of their impact we’ve introduced an app from the UK called ‘River Obstacles’
http://www.river-obstacles.org.uk/ that can be used to record barriers. This project is of course live on the net and awaits your support.
A new FaceBook page was launched by mp2films entitled IRISH RIVERS RUN FREE . A website will follow soon which will be an information source from around Ireland highlighting the factual damage to our river systems and platforming the solutions . The online campaign to FREE THE LEE continues to gain momentum and support. Information on the campaign and future screenings of RIVER RUNNER can be followed at
It has been a busy , beautiful week in the mp2films camp but progress is progress. Thank you for sharing. Sharing is caring. BEIR BUA.