Latest Water

in: Research
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Research 424: ESDecide: From Ecosystem Services Framework to Application for Integrated Freshwater Resources Management

Authors: Mary Kelly-Quinn, Michael Bruen, Craig Bullock, Mike Christie, Christian K. Feld, Jasper Kenter, Marcin Penk and Jeremy Piggott, September 2022

Year: 2022

The ESDecide project set out to build on the outputs of the previous EPA-funded ESManage project by developing the tools and guidance needed to advance the incorporation of ecosystem services and the concept of “nature’s contribution to people” (NCP) into decision-making for the protection and management of freshwater resources and other related policy goals. The project developed the interactive decision support tool ProgRES, which helps river resource managers estimate the probability of changes in biological responses and the associated ecosystem services/NCP changes in environmental conditions.

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Research 421: Assessment of the Extent and Impact of Barriers on Freshwater Hydromorphology and Connectivity in Ireland (Reconnect)

Authors: Mary Kelly-Quinn, Michael Bruen, Jonathan N. Turner, John O’Sullivan, Jens Carlsson, Craig Bullock, Siobhan Atkinson and Colm M. Casserly, September 2022

Year: 2022

The Reconnect project advanced knowledge on the impact of low-head barriers on connectivity in Irish rivers in terms of sediment dynamics and ecology (fish, macroinvertebrates and macrophytes) through studies undertaken from 2016 to 2020 in four core study areas on the Duag, Dalligan and Burren rivers and Browns Beck Brook and at 35 other locations across 12 river/stream systems. The project also developed a methodology for prioritising barriers for modification or removal to improve hydromorphology and connectivity.

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Research 413: The Diversity and Resilience of Kelp Ecosystems in Ireland

Authors: Kathryn Schoenrock, Stacy Krueger-Hadfield, Kenan Chan, Rory O’Callaghan, Tony O’Callaghan, Aaron Golden and Anne Marie Power, July 2022

Year: 2022

In Ireland, Kelp forests can be found along rocky shorelines and dominates rocky substrata along the Irish coastline (approximately 3010 km out of the 7524 km of national shoreline). The report makes recommendations concerning monitoring and preserving kelp ecosystems nationwide. A range of resilience metrics was assessed for subtidal kelp forests in Ireland to better understand how to monitor, manage and simply understand these systems and their potential responses to climate shifts in nearshore ecosystems.

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Research 406: Sharing Lessons Learned from Water Governance

Authors: Joanna O’Riordan, Richard Boyle, John O’Neill, Fergal O’Leary and Laura Shannon, March 2022

Year: 2022

Clean, healthy water is essential for our economy, our aquatic wildlife and our health and wellbeing. However, as noted in the draft third-cycle River Basin Management Plan (Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, 2021), there are mounting environmental pressures on Ireland’s waters with the situation described as ‘’urgent’’. The objective of this research was to review changes in structures and processes made under the second-cycle River Basin Management Plan, 2018–2021, to inform thinking regarding the third-cycle River Basin Management Plan, 2022–2027.

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Research 403: EcoMetrics – Environmental Supporting Conditions for Groundwater-dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems

Authors: Laurence Gill, Saheba Bhatnagar, Ella Bijkerk, Shane Regan, Celia Somlai, Owen Naughton, Bidisha Ghosh, Stephen Waldren, Catherine Coxon and Paul Johnston, February 2022

Year: 2022

Wetlands provide important regulating ecosystem services, such as water purification, carbon capture and storage, and flood protection. They also provide rich habitats for biodiversity, including many protected species. This research project evaluated and developed methods for the assessment and definition of appropriate ecohydrological metrics to help policymakers conserve and/or restore wetlands, particularly with respect to meeting the objectives of the Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive as applied to GWDTEs in Ireland.

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Research 396: Catchment Models and Management Tools for Diffuse Contaminants (Sediment, Phosphorus and Pesticides): DiffuseTools Project

Authors: Ian Thomas, Michael Bruen, Eva Mockler, Christopher Werner, Per-Erik Mellander, Sim Reaney, Anna Rymszewicz, Gavan McGrath, Edith Eder, Andrew Wade, Adrian Collins and Berit Arheimer, November 2021

Year: 2021

Eutrophication, often driven by phosphorus, is the most significant issue for inland surface waters in Ireland. Half of Irish river water bodies still require improvements to bring them to good status, as required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC). This research contributes to Ireland’s response to the third River Basin Management Plan of the WFD and to the development and implementation of more sustainable and cost-effective agricultural policies.

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Research 389: Evaluating the Multiple Values of Nature – ESDecide: from an Ecosystem Services Framework to Application for Integrated Freshwater Resources Management

Authors: Mike Christie, Jasper Kenter, Craig Bullock, Michael Bruen, Marcin Penk, Christian Feld and Mary Kelly-Quinn, August 2021

Year: 2021

The Water Framework Directive requires the EPA to monitor the quality of water in Ireland’s rivers and lakes. This research reviewed the multiple values and benefits of nature, often termed ‘ecosystem services’ or’ nature’s contributions to people (NCPs)’. It provides insights into the multiple ways people value rivers and associated ecosystem services/ NCPs. The research also developed a decision support tool to assess the impacts on ecosystem services/NCPs of alternative river catchment measures.

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Research 380: Innovative Water Monitoring

Authors: Kevin Fitzgibbon, William Whelan-Curtin, Chinna Devarapu, Patricia Loren, Colin O’Sullivan and Ian Aherne, June 2021

Year: 2021

The Innovative Water Monitoring project aimed to create an additional innovative sensing system for real-time detection of water quality parameters, to support the existing water quality monitoring policies, programmes and requirements under the Water Framework Directive, the Bathing Water Quality legislation, etc. It has demonstrated the ability to detect two such parameters, nitrates and Escherichia coli (E. coli), using the system.

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Research 378: Towards the Quantification of Blanket Bog Ecosystem Services to Water

Authors: Raymond Flynn, Francis Mackin and Florence Renou-Wilson, June 2021

Year: 2021

Blanket bogs are common in many areas of Ireland, contributing to our most iconic landscapes. However, although they cover approximately 13% of the country, natural processes sustaining blanket bogs remain poorly understood. This research aimed to better understand blanket bog hydrology through a 3-year programme in which researchers monitored the flow and water quality in streams draining Irish blanket bogs that are relatively intact.

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Research 376: From Source to Sink: Responses of a Coastal Catchment to Large-scale Changes (Golden Strand Catchment, Achill Island, County Mayo)

Authors: Eugene Farrell, Mary Bourke, Tiernan Henry, Gesche Kindermann, Kevin Lynch, Terry Morley, Barry O’Dwyer, John O’Sullivan and Jonathan Turner, June 2021

Year: 2021

This research is a series of field experiments that measured patterns in the sediment and water pathways in the Golden Strand catchment, Achill Island, County Mayo. The results show that climate changes (storminess, temperature, precipitation) impacts are site specific and require long-term, multi-disciplinary field monitoring programmes (geomorphology; ecology; hydrology) to capture local specificity and environmental variability.

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Research 373: Using an Experimental Governance Lens to Examine Governance of the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018–2021

Authors: Richard Boyle, Joanna O’Riordan, Fergal O’Leary and Laura Shannon, May 2021

Year: 2021

This report examines lessons learned from the water governance arrangements put in place for the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) 2018–2021 for Ireland through the lens of experimental governance. The study finds that the three-tier governance structure is appropriate and should be continued. However, there is still room for improvement in the area of adapting and improving the operation of the existing arrangements.

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Research 372: Using the OECD Water Governance Indicator Framework to Review the Implementation of the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018–2021

Authors: Joanna O’Riordan, Richard Boyle, Fergal O’Leary and Laura Shannon, May 2021

Year: 2021

This report assesses water governance in Ireland using the Water Governance Indicator Framework, a tool developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2018 to assist countries in assessing their progress towards the European Union’s Water Framework Directive.

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Research 364: Learning from Group Water Schemes: Community Infrastructures for Sustainable Development

Authors: Patrick Bresnihan, Arielle Hesse and James Merricks White, January 2021

Year: 2021

The quality of many of Ireland’s freshwater sources is declining, impacting in turn the quality and affordability of Ireland’s drinking water services. This project examines the history and development of the group water scheme sector, identifying how and why it has been successful in providing essential water services to rural Ireland, and providing several key findings that have implications beyond the rural water sector.

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Research 359: Modelling Irish Transitional and Coastal Systems to Determine Nutrient Reduction Measures to Achieve Good Status

Authors: Joseph V. McGovern, Stephen Nash and Michael Hartnett, December 2020

Year: 2020

In this project three Irish estuaries were modelled with the aim of quantifying the impact on water quality of existing nutrient loading from direct and diffuse inputs. Recommendations on the necessary nutrient load reductions to improve estuarine water quality and the appropriate pressure to target in nutrient load reductions for the three systems studied are provided.

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Research 356: Development of Proof-of-concept Portable Sensors for Detection of Heavy Metals and Organic Pesticides and Investigation of Anti-biofouling Materials

Authors: Alan O’Riordan, Michael Nolan, Pierre Lovera, Julio Gutiérrez Moreno, Robert Daly and Benjamin O’Sullivan, November 2020

Year: 2020

One important challenge in the 21st century is the ability to provide a clean and pollutant-free source of water. This project aimed to develop electrochemical and optical-based sensors for detection of organic contaminants (herbicides) and heavy metals. This research has shed light on the potential for the development and optimisation of novel environmental sensors and anti-biofouling strategies.

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Research 353: Investigation into the Causes, Impacts and Measures to Deal with Algal Blooms in Vartry Reservoir

Authors: Yunhong Shi, Dunzhu Li, Laurence Gill, Bruce Misstear, Ian O’Donohue and Liwen Xiao, November 2020

Year: 2020

Vartry Reservoir is a very important drinking water source in Ireland. This project collected and analysed historical water quality and ecology data from 2016 to 2018 and a series of laboratory experiments were carried out to investigate the causes of diatom blooms to identify the pressures. The study also monitored nutrient levels in both the feeding rivers and the reservoir.

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Research 341: Assessing the Potential of Drones to Take Water Samples and Physico-chemical Data from Open Lakes

Authors: Heather Lally, Ian O’Connor, Liam Broderick, Mark Broderick, Olaf Jensen and Conor Graham, September 2020

Year: 2020

Water sampling remains a key component in the monitoring and assessment of aquatic environments. Sampling requiring the use of a boat can lead to issues around accessibility, particularly at remote lakes where there may be a lack of a slipway. This research has successfully demonstrated that water chemistry data collected using drone water sampling methods are not statistically different from those produced by boat sampling.

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Research 330: COSAINT: Cattle Exclusion from Watercourses: Environmental and Socio-economic Implications

Authors: Daire Ó hUallacháin, Eleanor Jennings, Patricia Antunes, Stuart Green, Paul Kilgarriff, Suzanne Linnane, Paul O’Callaghan, Matt O’Sullivan, Fiona Regan, Mary Ryan and Mary Kelly-Quinn, July 2020

Year: 2020

Loss of pollutants from grassland systems to water bodies is a significant threat to water quality and represents one of the main environmental problems facing agri-ecosystems in Ireland. This project evaluated existing literature and generated temporal and spatial data on the environmental impact of cattle exclusion measures.

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Research 313: Saltmarsh Function and Human Impacts in Relation to Ecological Status (SAMFHIRES)

Authors: Philip M. Perrin, Stephen Waldren, Marcin R. Penk and Fionnuala H. O’Neill , April 2020

Year: 2020

Coastal saltmarshes provide a range of important ecosystem services but face increasing challenges because of human activities. Ecological assessments of saltmarshes are required to inform reporting in compliance with the European Union (EU) Habitats Directive (HD) (92/43/EEC) and Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC).

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Research 312: Incorporation of Ecosystem Services Values in the Integrated Management of Irish Freshwater Resources: ESManage

Authors: Mary Kelly-Quinn, Michael Bruen, Mike Christie, Craig Bullock, Hugh Feeley, Edel Hannigan, Thibault Hallouin, Fiona Kelly, Ronan Matson and Ewa Siwicka, April 2020

Year: 2020

The ESManage project tested an eight-step methodological framework to help embed ecosystem services and the ecosystem services approach into policy and decision-making for the sustainable management of water resources, as required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

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