Friday 24 February 2017

New lease of life for old Christmas trees



Old Christmas pinned along the banks of the Dalua river, near Kanturk, to precent further erosion of the river bank.
Old Christmas pinned along the banks of the Dalua river, near Kanturk, to precent further erosion of the river bank.

based at IRD Duhallow, along with Kanturk Trout Angling Club, worked with the anglers in the area to protect a large stretch of the upper Blackwater, which is a special area of conservation.

Dr Igoe said erosion along the river was not only a problem for rare species, such as the freshwater pearl mussel, but also for local farmers who were losing IT'S nearly time to ditch the Christmas tree again - but in Duhallow old Christmas trees are getting a new lease of life, as part of an anti-erosion drive.

Dr Fran Igoe of IRD Duhallow explained how they have placed numerous used Christmas trees along the River Dalua, near Kanturk, during the summer which has resulted in the halt of land erosion as well as the prevention of flooding.

"Used Christmas trees are really useful in the protection of river banks against eroding flood water. The trees are pinned to the river banks where they protect exposed soil on the river banks against the floor waters," Dr Ogoe explained.

As the river rises the branches of the trees stick out into the water effectively slowing down the water along the edge of the river. This in turn reduces erosion of the river bank.

"As the water slows, suspended soil and organic material is actually deposited on the trees pinned to the river bank. This, in time, builds up and the river bank can then be planted with trees and bushes which help stabilise the bank and provide further protection against erosion," said Dr Igoe.

He said this has method worked very effectively on projects carried out on rivers subject to flash flooding in the west of Ireland.

Last summer, the LIFE time land due to this erosion.

"This land was being washed away at a rate of over six feet per year in places, and our sampling instruments found that much of this material was clogging up gravel used by salmon to spawn and potential habitant of the freshwater pearl mussel," he said.

Another major plus since the trees were put in place is that birds such as wrens and wagtails seem to like the trees, feeding on small inspects trapped between the branches in the flood.

He now hopes that people in region who will shortly take down the decorations after the festive season would kindly donate them to IRD Duhallow based at the James O'Keeffe Institute in Newmarket.

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