Mixed news on Kerry waters in EPA report
Some bright findings for Kerry, but deteriorations muddy overall picture
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that while Kerry's waters are among the cleanest in the country, significant issues remain, with water dis-improvements in some parts of Kerry shadowing improvements elsewhere.
Those were among the findings of the EPA's Water Quality in Ireland 2010-2015 report released this week, and the agency told The Kerryman that the picture for Kerry is in line with the national trend.
"In general, Kerry has some of the highest quality waters in the country, although some significant issues remain such as the deterioration in the estuary and coastal waters at Tralee, and in the Inny River which dropped from Good to Moderate Status" Matthew Craig of the EPA said.
"We noted further deterioration from High Status to Good Status in the water quality of Outer Tralee Bay and deterioration was also observed in the inner estuary.
"The outer Kenmare River coastal water also deteriorated - although improvement has been seen in the inner Kenmare River estuary.
"Elsewhere, Lough Currane's quality improved to High Status and both Annascaul River and Caragh River improved from moderate to high."
The 68-page report outlined that Kerry has six of Ireland's 21 "Pristine" rivers: the Kerry Blackwater, the Caragh River, the Finow, the Owbeg/Roughty and two stretches of the Flesk River.
No lakes in Kerry were regarded as poor quality or worse, one of the few counties where this was the case.
On the opposite end of the scale three of Kerry's transitional waters failed in the report. The Cashen and the Upper Feale were found to have elevated phytoplankton, indicative of elevated diffuse nutrients, while Lough Gill failed following an assessment of the fish in the lagoon.
Elsewhere, the report showed that over 45 per cent of the Dunmanus-Bantry-Kenmare catchment's river water bodies are of high-quality, making it the best performing catchment in the country in this regard. None of its 56 bodies failed, one of just two catchments in the country to achieve such a clean sweep.
Lake monitoring also showed that five of its lakes are of High quality, the most in the country.
The overall news for the catchment is not without negatives, however, with 15 of its river bodies dropping in water quality, the same number as the Tralee Bay-Feale catchment.
Over 80 per cent of the Laune-Maine-Dingle Bay catchment's 68 river bodies attained either "high" or "good" status, one of just five catchments to break the 80 per cent mark. Tralee Bay-Feale and Shannon Estuary South scored 65 and 37 per cent respectively on this front.