Belfast Telegraph

Blanket bog restoration project to improve habitats for birds and butterflies

Thousands of acres of blanket bog are to be restored across Northern Ireland, the Republic and Scotland, the RSPB said.

It will improve habitats for birds and butterflies while producing lower-cost drinking water, project organisers said.

The European Union helped fund the five-year conservation project.

Work will begin at Garron Plateau in Co Antrim next month and Pettigo Plateau in Co Fermanagh.

Gina McIntyre, chief executive officer of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), said: "This innovative cross-border project will make a significant contribution to the protection of the precious natural habitats of vulnerable wildlife found across Northern Ireland, the border region of Ireland and Western Scotland."

The Co-operation Across Borders for Biodiversity (CABB) project is worth 4.9 million euro (£4.3 million) and is managed by the SEUPB.

It aims to improve breeding habitat for curlews, lapwings, redshanks and snipe in Northern Ireland and the Republic as well as improve habitat for hen harriers.

Organisers want to raise awareness in the communities involved of the environmental, cultural and historical importance of these wetland habitats.

It is being delivered through a partnership between RSPB NI, RSPB Scotland, BirdWatch Ireland, Butterfly Conservation, Northern Ireland Water and Moors for the Future.

It will see 2,228 hectares of blanket bog being restored across the three countries.

Garron is one of the best examples of blanket bog anywhere on the island of Ireland.

A well-managed and functioning blanket bog on the site will help species including hen harriers, curlews and cuckoos to survive in future, along with plants including marsh saxifrage and Irish lady's-tresses orchids, the RSPB said.

Contractors will begin work next month on blocking drains to help restore and sustainably manage the habitat.

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