Consultants retained to draw up plan for Limerick wetland

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Email:

david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Consultants retained to draw up plan for Limerick wetland

The Westfields Wetland is 25 hectares in size

Limerick City and County Council has retained environmental consultants FH Wetland Systems, in collaboration with JBA Consulting, to draw up a management plan for the Westfields Wetland on the northside of Limerick city.

The Westfields Wetland covers around 25 hectares and is part of the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

It is bounded to the south by the embankment of the River Shannon and the Condell Road and, to the north, by private housing.

Westfields is widely used as a local amenity and is host to a variety of wildlife, including migrating wildfowl that visit the area. The area is a regular feature in the annual Tidy Towns competition under the wildlife and natural amenities category and is an invaluable amenity resource for the city residents and a refuge for wildlife.

There are some challenges for the area, from an amenity and biodiversity perspective, which are to be addressed in the new management plan.

“Over the years bulrush growth has encroached around the viewing platform at Westfields Lake, making it more difficult to view duck, swans and other wildfowl. This was a popular place for young children to visit with adults and to see birds close up. The lake water quality shows signs of enrichment, which reduces the wildlife value and the beauty of the lake,” said a spokesperson for the local authority.

There are also invasive alien species in a number of areas around the site, which require careful consideration and management.

“There are also many opportunities for protecting and enhancing biodiversity; for strengthening local community input and involvement; and for building on this valuable natural amenity for the people of Limerick to visit and enjoy,” added the spokesperson who appeared to members of the public to give their input.

A survey has been launched on My Point, the Council’s Public Consultation portal, where members of the public can submit their views on priorities and long term management.

For more, email westfieldsplan@limerick.ie or click here