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Case Studies

Environment: Mapping Biodiversity on the River Suir

Promoter:         Suircan Environmental Clg

Project             Environmental DNA analysis of 3 key species in the River Suir Catchment

LEADER Funding            €35,066

Suircan Environmental Clg are a voluntary community based group with an interest in environmental issues and a focus on the River Suir.  Based in Clonmel, they support a range of activities such as clean-ups, tree planting, removal of invasive species, promotion of biodiversity, arts festivals and creativity. 

In 2020, conscious of deteriorating water quality on the R Suir in Clonmel, they undertook an innovative and comprehensive study to assess the distribution of 3 indicator species across the whole Suir catchment.  Working with BioID, an Environmental DNA (e-DNA) analysis company based in UCD, they trained 41 Citizen Scientists in catchment management, water quality and   to take and process water samples in a scientifically robust way.

In all 480 samples were collected in 120 locations from the river and its tributaries from its source in the Devils Bit to Carrick on Suir. These samples were then tested in Dublin using e-DNA for the presence of freshwater pearl mussel, white clawed crayfish and sea lamprey.  The results showed a mixed picture, with some areas showing a good presence, while others had no evidence of any of the species.

To share the learning, the project also worked with 10 primary schools, to introduce them to river biodiversity and explain the importance of maintaining good river water quality.  They also engaged with policy makers such as LAWPRO, The County Council, Inland Fisheries, National Parks and wildlife Service to ensure that the results could be used in future policy making.

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