19 Jan 2022

Work almost complete on largescale new wetlands amenity in Offaly

Work almost complete on wetlands amenity in Tullamore

Work is almost complete on the Tullamore Living River Project

Work is almost complete on a largescale new wetlands amenity in Offaly 

The excavation work is finished and a planting programme will now begin at the Tullamore Living River Project site at Kilcruttin in Tullamore. .

''This project sets out to deliver a landmark project for the residents and future visitors to Tullamore town which provides amenities, improves water quality, enhances biodiversity, allows flood relief and engages the local community with their spatial surroundings, said Mary Hussey, environment and housing officer with Offaly County Council at this week's Tullamore Municipal District meeting.

The project involves converting land at Kilcruttin into an ''attractive wetland filter area and wetlands park.''

It is envisaged the project will provide valuable habitat for wetland wildlife such as riverside flora, dragonflies, butterflies and bird species. Flowers such as lady's smock, meadowsweet, yellow flag, water mint and king cup are all beautiful wetland plant species that would grow well in this new area, it's proposed.

To the rear of the buildings on the south side of Main Street the river flows past the old mill. The weir and mill race are in disrepair and the mill pond has become silted and grown over with  vegetation. It is proposed to reinstate a riffle feature at the location of the old weir, with natural stone to allow ease of fish movement while at the same time allowing for a slight rise in the elevation of water levels upriver. This will raise the water level across the vegetated area within the mill pond and create a wetland habitat with the potential to allow greater silt removal than is currently the case, thus contributing to water quality improvements in the river. Tree trimming will also take place at the rear of Main Street in Tullamore. 

Litter has accumulated along the riverbank and gathered where the trees come in contact with the water. Provision of access for litter picking would allow for safe and straightforward removal by Tidy Towns groups or others as needed. It is proposed to avoid clearing too much overhanging vegetation at this location. Sycamore can be removed or cut back if desired, but alder, willow and elder all provide food for pollinators and birds and should be left to thrive.

River enhancement measures will also happen to the rear of Tullamore library  and gravel will raise the river bed level.

For further habitat enhancement the area could be extended to the new Lidl car park, with alternating pool and riffle sections, it is suggested. This would further increase movement, sound and aeration of the water.

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