Bord na Móna has said it will not block boundary drains or drains that take water into its bogs under its bog rewetting project.

Mark McCorry, ecologist with Bord na Móna, told the Irish Farmers Journal that rewetting the bogs will result in “soggy conditions”.

“When I talk about rewetting, I’m really talking about creating soggy conditions. We don’t want to create deeper water where possible.

“We want to get emerging vegetation – so ground you probably would need your wellingtons to walk through, but it’s not going to be too wet.

He said that when bogs are dry they’re going to be emitting carbon. “We know if we wet them we can reduce those carbon emissions,” he said.

Blocking drains

“We’re doing extensive drain blocking. We’ll also be looking at re-profiling and bunding. These are minor changes to the surface of the bog and we’ll also be looking at hydrological management on our pump bogs.

We have to be very careful and conscious about what we do

“We won’t be blocking marginal drains and we won’t be blocking any drains that take water into the bog and where water can flow through our bogs.

“We have to be very careful and conscious about what we do that may affect adjacent land.

“We’re going to be carrying out hydrological assessments to look at potential impacts and we will be amending our rehabilitation plans if these assessments flag that there could be potential impacts,” he said.

We want to put farmers’ minds at rest

When asked on the Irish Farmers Journal podcast if farmers should be worried about rewetting, McCorry said that Bord na Móna wants to put farmers’ minds at rest.

“We’ve avoided blocking the marginal drains so we’ve avoided having any negative impacts on adjacent land.

“We want to put farmers’ minds at rest. We really want to be able to reassure them that we’re going to take all the measures that we can to prevent negative impacts.

“Where we have to adapt our plans, we will. We will be carrying out our hydrological assessments and we’re going to be very cautious about what we do and compromising where we have to,” he said.

Rewetting terms

  • Rewetting: where water levels in a bog are brought up to the surface of the peat, resulting in soggy conditions. This is done through drain blocking, reprofiling and bunding, among other actions.
  • Reprofiling: creating a flatter surface on the bog, optimising hydrological conditions.
  • Bunding: putting in a low barrier to maintain shallow surface water. This would typically be made of peat, and be low and wide with the objective of maintaining water levels less than 10cm deep on the surface.
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