Bord na Móna leads restoration of Westmeath’s Crosswood Bog on behalf of National Parks and Wildlife Service
Pictured above L-R: Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform; Joe Lane, Head of Energy, Bord na Móna; and Mark McCorry, Head of Ecology and Bog Rehabilitation, Bord na Móna.
Bord na Móna’s leading role in the restoration and rehabilitation of peatlands across Ireland was highlighted this week, when Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, and Brian Lucas, from National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) visited Crosswood Bog in Co. Westmeath to see at first hand the restoration works being carried out by Bord na Móna, as part of the NPWS Raised Bog Restoration Programme.
Crosswood Bog is a Special Area of Conservation and is one of nine raised bogs in the midlands region. Following a competitive process earlier this year, Bord na Móna was awarded the tender to project manage and undertake restoration works on behalf of the NPWS. Bord na Móna is now helping return over 1,800 hectares of bog to favourable conservation status. It is estimated that restoring 1,800 hectares of raised bog, which is being funded under the Carbon Tax Fund, will contribute to Ireland’s climate targets by removing 4,945 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.
Bord na Móna’s Head of Energy, Joe Lane said: “Investment in restoration and rehabilitation of peatlands has enormous benefits for society both in terms of social and natural capital. Today highlights Bord na Móna’s leadership role in climate action specifically in the area of peatland rehabilitation and carbon sequestration. We have worked to develop and implement best practice measures in terms of rehabilitation and restoration, delivering on government policy and national decarbonisation commitments. This programme with NPWS also supports national policy on biodiversity and will be important in changing how we manage and care for our land for a range of native species.”
Restoration measures on raised bogs usually involve raising water levels close to the bog surface to help restore peat-forming conditions and encourage the natural development of sphagnum mosses, which are the building blocks of peat. Peat bogs are unique ecosystems teeming with wildlife. The microscopic plant and animal life living in sphagnum mosses provide food for all other organisms living in the wet bog including pond skaters, dragonflies, damselflies, caddisflies, midges, bloodworms, water boatmen, water beetles, water lice, and frogs.
Under its Brown to Green strategy, Bord na Móna is taking a leadership role in climate action and continues to develop and implement best practice measures in terms of rehabilitation and restoration. The strategy has transformed the company, placing it at the forefront of delivering on government policy and national decarbonisation commitments. In June Bord na Móna suspended peat harvesting and commenced work on its Enhanced Peatland Rehabilitation Scheme (EPRS) on its own peatlands. EPRS, which will involve an ongoing programme of works, is the most extensive of its kind ever undertaken in Europe.
The rehabilitation and restoration operations are an important component of the Government’s Just Transition Plan, sustaining employment in midlands communities, while also aiding biodiversity and positive climate action in the region.
Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, and Mark McCorry, Head of Ecology and Bog Rehabilitation, Bord na Móna.