Clonakilty Certified Drainage Scheme

Clonakilty Certified Drainage Scheme

As Ecological Specialists, Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants Ltd were tasked with developing and implementing an Environmental Management Plan for Clonakilty Drainage Scheme. This role included pre-construction surveys and ensuring all personnel were aware of the ecological constraints on the project through method statements and toolbox talks.

The scheme in Clonakilty involved the construction of a flow control structure above the town, creating a new floodplain containment area.  The challenging aspect of the scheme involved works within the river from this structure through the town to the harbour at Clonakilty Bay, which is designated as an SPA, an SAC and a pNHA.

New walls and pressure grouting involved working with potentially hazardous elements throughout the build.  A temporary river diversion was built to enable a large structure instream to be constructed. This diversion enabled fish migration to continue throughout the works period, providing habitat for aquatic species. The river within the town itself was enhanced with new instream features such as pools and new riffles. Boulders placed in the pools now offer refuge for Salmonids and perches for birds such as Dippers and Wagtails.

Solutions and enhancements to the work methodologies and outcomes were achieved by working closely with Ward & Burke, the client’s representatives, IFI and NPWS. This included elements such as the design of flag stones to offer eels low water habitat in a small stream within the town and crevices for nesting birds within new wall structures.  Mitigation for the local Natura sites included cowled lighting for night time works and visual screening for wildfowl roosting and feeding sites.

As with many projects, Invasive Alien Plant Species were a major consideration.  Plants encountered included Japanese Knotweed, Gunnera, Three Cornered Leek and Spanish Bluebell.  Management plans were devised to ensure that these plants did not contaminate new areas and were treated effectively.  Care was also taken to inspect donor sites, such as quarries, to ensure no imported material contained invasive plant species.  Biosecurity was also a key element of the project and all plant and equipment used was cleaned, dried or disinfected premobilisation to prevent further invasive species being imported to the site.

Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants Ltd also worked with local groups in the town, sponsoring a swift box programme and the designing of a wildlife garden that opened in September 2021.  All of these elements resulted in an enhancement to local biodiversity with no net loss.

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