Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme 2023 Opens for Applications

Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme 2023 Opens for Applications

Green Party TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh has urged eligible communities across Waterford to apply to the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme, announced yesterday by Min. Malcolm Noonan.  The scheme aims to support community-led projects to restore and protect nature within their communities, with everything from ecological surveys, boardwalks, trails and bird boxes to education and awareness-raising initiatives covered in the funding stream.

Deputy Ó Cathasaigh believes deepening local communities’ engagement with the natural heritage around them brings multiple benefits:

‘Our peatlands, bogs and fens, though so often ignored in the past, play important roles in terms of protecting our natural environment – soaking up and storing carbon, absorbing water to prevent flooding and protecting our precious biodiversity. Connecting with these wild places enhances communities, enriching the connection with place and with nature.

‘Fenor Bog is a great example – the boardwalk and the informational signage opens up the site to everyone. I had my own three boys out spotting tadpoles there at the weekend, something we do every spring. The Anne Valley Walk is other local example I could point to where our wetlands are being harnessed to clean our water and provide refuge for our wildlife, all while providing a fantastic amenity resource. I’d like to see communities all across Waterford using this funding to enhance and protect these valuable habitats.’

The Tramore TD visited hill farmers in the Comeragh EIP project recently and sees a funding opportunity for them in this funding as well:

‘The farmers told me how participating in the EIP project deepened and enriched their understanding of the mountains they’ve been farming for generations. They pointed out some of the significant erosion happening on the blanket bogs on the top of the Comeraghs and the pressures on many of the commonages. I think the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme is a perfect fit for groups like this, leveraging people’s passion for their own place along with their skills and experience to create real benefit for communities and the natural world. I strongly encourage any interested land-owners or community groups to submit an application, and to get in touch with my office if they have any questions.’