National Citizen Science Initiatives
It should be noted that the EPA is not involved in the projects that are listed here. These pages are provided for information only.
Bat Conservation Ireland
Bat Conservation Ireland (BCI) runs several citizen science initiatives:
- The all-Ireland daubenton’s bat waterways survey is the most popular scheme among members of the public and those new to bat survey work.
- Citizen scientists participating in the car-based bat monitoring project drive known routes in 28 locations across Ireland and record all bat sounds along the roadside.
- The brown long-eared roost monitoring project involves counts of individual bats within, or emerging from, brown long-eared bat roosts to determine the trends in this species’ population.
NOTE: Photography by Tina Aughney
BirdWatch Ireland runs a range of surveys which increase our knowledge of birds, their populations and their changing needs. This valuable data collected by dedicated BirdWatch Ireland citizen scientists provides one of the largest and longest running biodiversity datasets collected in Ireland. BirdWatch Ireland have a range of bird surveys, suitable for all ages, from complete beginners to the most experienced birdwatchers.
Clean Coasts engages communities in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. The Programme is operated by An Taisce and organises hundred of beach clean-ups annually, removing considerable quantities of litter from our coastline.
Coastwatch Europe (CWE) is an international network of environmental groups, universities and other educational institutions, who in turn work with local groups and individuals around the coast of Europe. CWE primarily protects wetlands by raising public awareness of their value and demonstrating practical ways to save them. The goal of CWE is the protection and sustainable use of coastal resources and informed public participation in environmental planning and management. CWE is driven by public participation. You can now access 30 years of Coastwatch citizen science data which was collated through an EPA funded project.
Geological Survey Ireland
The Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) runs a number of citizen science initiatives. The LiDAR public feature identification enables the public to help in the identification of karst and archaeological features from the Lidar web viewer. Verified archaeological sites are added to the Sites and Monuments Record on www.archaeology.ie. The GSI is also responsible for maintaining the National Landslides Database. To date over 2500 landslide events have been mapped and these underpin the National Landslide Susceptibility Map. If you have information on a landslide you can submit this to the GSI by contacting us here.
Noise from transport, industry and construction can dominate the acoustic environment in a city. Research has shown that prolonged excessive exposure to traffic noise can have a significant adverse impact on our health. That is why it is important that we have access to quiet and tranquil areas, away from the hustle and bustle of busy life. The European Union has highlighted the need to preserve the quality of our acoustic environment in cities and the importance of identifying, designating and protecting quiet areas.
With this in mind, the EPA is supporting the ‘Hush City’ project in conjunction with Limerick City and County Council. The aim of this project is to invite the public to identify and assess tranquil areas in Limerick City and its environs using a free mobile app called the Hush City app.
To use the Hush City app simply download it for either IOS or Android at:
Irish Whale and Dolphin Group
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group established whale and dolphin recording schemes throughout the island of Ireland in 1991 working with citizen scientists. The Stranding Scheme reports about 250 strandings per annum, which is increasing each year and can be used to identify “unusual” stranding events. The Sighting Scheme records about 1500 sighting records of 10 to 12 species annually and has validated 28,000 records to date. Our Constant Effort Scheme monitors inshore waters from a range of headlands and is excellent for identifying seasonal and inter-annual trends. Records can be accessed at www.iwdg.ie. Training courses, resources and weekend whale-watching are available for those interested in getting involved.
Lake Buddies Citizen Science Project
The Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) is helping anglers in the border region to monitor Lough Eske, Lough Melvin and Lough Sheelin using innovative citizen science techniques.
During the draft River Basin Management Plan consultation in 2018, anglers in the Border region expressed a desire for more monitoring on their lakes. After researching the potential for LAWPRO funding for a Citizen Science monitoring project, the Border Community Water Officer team approached the Environmental Protection Agency, Local Authorities, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and IFI about a potential project. Once the agencies were on board the team applied for funding to initiate the pilot project in May 2019. The citizen scientists use Survey123 to collect data on the following parameters:
- Wind Speed
- Presence of Algae
- Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)
- Electrical Conductivity
- Observations at Sample Location
The project is innovative and has a potential multiplier effect. It will leverage significant voluntary input and will support Priority Action Area catchment assessment work. It will also build on previous community engagement work and provide tangible stewardship outcomes for communities who want to get involved in practical action to protect their local water catchment.
For further information contact The Local Authority Waters Programme at http://watersandcommunities.ie/
National Biodiversity Data Centre
The National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) is the national organisation for the collection, management, analysis and dissemination of data on Ireland's biological diversity. Biodiversity data are a key requirement for understanding our natural surroundings and for tracking changes in our environment.
The NBDC provides a facility for people to submit their sightings of Ireland's wildlife and to manage and view their own records online. Any records received are held in a database until they are verified by experts. Verified records can be viewed in Biodiversity maps here. Current projects under way include the bumblebee monitoring scheme, the butterfly monitoring scheme, the butterfly atlas 2021, the ladybird atlas 2025, the leaf miners recording initiative, the spring flowering plants project,the rare plant monitoring scheme, Dragonfly Ireland 2019-2024 and Explore your Shore.
The Irish Wildlife Trust
The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) runs citizen science projects to monitor the distribution of a range of Irish species. These projects combine elements of awareness raising, training and species surveying and are open for all to take part. Currently, the IWT is running a national reptile survey, a bee identification and monitoring project and canal wildlife surveys.