A team of Marine biologists have visited Co Donegal this weekend starting at Lough Foyle to conduct a survey on eel grasses – right where the county council wants to put in a new sewage pumping station.
The team was led by Dr Karin Dubsky Co-ordinator for Coast Watch Europe . Sponsored by “Celebrating Water”, a local sub aqua team and boats from Foyle Rowing Club assisted the members of the team as they conducted their examination of two prominent sea grass beds at Glenburnie and at the Blackrock, north of the same site.
Samples were taken and the extent of the beds mapped, using GPS equipment. Further sites were examined outside Lough Foyle.
Foyle Rowing Club member Don McGinley welcomed Karin Dubsky’s visit , saying that she has visited the area for the past twenty years and is very familiar with Lough Foyle.
“We are glad to be associated with this event which is sponsored by “Celebrating Water” who have organised a number of very worthwhile events this summer along Moville Shore highlighting the bio diversity of our waters and providing taster sessions for rowers and kayakers alike,” he said.
The initial survey shows that the bed at Glenburnie is larger than expected extending out to 2.4 metres at low water. However even though the roots and plants are healthy, they are affected by other organisms, probably as a result of putrefaction. Dr Dubsky will complete her report in due course with her final results and assessments.
Don McGinley added that such visits are very important so that the proper assessments are made to “protect our local environment”.
He went on: “It is important for us to know what is happening to our environment adjacent to our shore which is so valued by our community.
“These past few years, efforts have been made to protect Moville shore. Indeed Donegal Co Council has given Sli na Slainte special designation within its County Development Plan, being one of two designated walks within the county.
“Further efforts are being made to designate the traditional pocket beaches at Dan Lafferty’s Lane. An application is before Donegal County Council since 2010 and fulfils all the criteria for designation. Achieving such designation will further enhance the protections both to Lough Foyle and to the local community who will continue to use this popular beach.”
The problem of the lack of proper sewerage treatment for both Moville and Greencastle is complicating the issue.
A highly controversial proposed scheme is currently before the courts for judicial review. A judgement will follow at the end of the year. Notwithstanding the result of the judgement designation of Glenburnie beach will offer protection to these beaches and the local population, but the council has yet to do this.
Jennifer O Donnell, who is the City of Culture & Trade Liaison Officer with Inishowen Tourism, is hoping to bring thousands of tourists into the county next year when Derry hosts the event.
She has written to the council pointing out that under EU laws, beaches along the Moville foreshore need to be designated as bathing waters.
Here is here letter to the council>
I am writing to you regarding the Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC) and believe it is the responsibility of the Local Authorities to identify Bathing Waters within their functional areas. I understand that there has been an application made from the Community for Clean Estuary group in Moville to request that Carnagarve Beach become designated under this directive.
I am currently working with Derry – Londonderry City of Culture 2013 as City of Culture Liaison officer for Inishowen Tourism. My main role to ensure Inishowen benefits from the increased visitor numbers to the Northwest throughout 2013 and work on projects throughout the peninsula to promote Inishowen as a leading tourist destination. Expected visitor numbers to the Northwest region by month include : May – 154,300, June – 85,200, July – 104,050, August – 415,200.
Inishowen will see a huge increase in visitor numbers into the region especially towns like Moville with its direct route from Derry. This beach area is extremely popular with both locals and visitors and attaining full accreditation as a designated bathing area would be a huge boost for the tourism economy in Moville especially in the run up to and during City of Culture 2013.
Is this something you feel you could start tests on and have designation complete by Summer 2013.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Jennifer O Donnell
City of Culture & Trade Liaison Officer