A reminder …

… of the unparalleled beauty of County Fermanagh*, the unique landscape which underpins our healthy tourism and agriculture businesses, provides us with clean water, air and soil and brings to both local people and visitors endless sources of adventure, observation and contemplation.

*Some of the pictures show our neighbour County Leitrim, also licensed for the same fracking operation.

All photographs copyright Stephen Carson, not to be reproduced without permission.

Areas of Special Scientific Interest 1: Lough Melvin

County Fermanagh, as its proud residents and delighted visitors know, is a region of extraordinary beauty with unique landscapes and unrivalled habitats for rare species of wildlife and plants. This link takes you to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s list of Areas of Special Scientific Interest in the county, many  of them in West Fermanagh, in or close to the area where shale gas extraction is planned.

The photograph on the left shows Lough Melvin, about which the Agency writes:

“Lough Melvin is a large mesotrophic lough of high scientific interest for its flora and fauna.The ASSI includes the open waters of the lough in addition to a range of associated wetland and terrestrial communities.

Habitats include swamp communities, boulder and rock shore, fen, woodland and species-rich grassland. This wide range of habitats is reflected in the diversity of plant and animal communities present.
Plants with a restricted distribution in the British isles include lesser meadow-rue, chaffweed, fragrant agrimony, upland enchanter’s-nightshade, northern bedstraw, slender-leaved pondweed and water lobelia.
Blue-eyed-grass and globeflower are of particular note and occur on Schedule 8 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.

The waters of the lough are unpolluted and in a relatively pristine state and support a unique salmonid fish community which dates back to the end of the last Ice Age. Three distinct sub-species of trout are found in Lough Melvin : sonaghen, gillaroo and ferox; providing one of the few examples of a once widespread situation of sympatric populations.
There are also stocks of the rare Atlantic salmon which is listed in Annex II of the EC Habitats and Species Directive and the Arctic charr, an Irish Red Data species.”

This is, of course, just one of the many “protected areas” within the bounds of the licence granted to Tamboran Resources. We’ll be featuring more of them in future posts. Meanwhile, if you’re concerned at the prospect of hydraulic fracturing here, please read our “What can I do?” page and think about signing the petition to the Northern Ireland Assembly.





Curlews, bats and melancholy thistles …

As many people are becoming aware, the area in which hydraulic fracturing is planned includes the Marble Arch Caves Geopark, one of less than sixty designated geoparks in the world, selected for their exceptional geological heritage and natural landscape.  Within the Geopark are eight Special Areas of Conservation, at least eighteen Areas of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Preservation.

Sonya O’Dwyer Oldham has prepared notes and a presentation about the area, its geology, flora and fauna and has kindly made this available to users of the frackaware site.

Her presentation shows us the landscape, which includes blanket bogs, turloughs, limestone pavement and karst underground cave systems and the beautiful, scarce and endangered species of plants and animals which live there. Rare butterflies, bats, otters, golden plovers, fish whose species dates back to the Ice Age, the evocatively named melancholy thistle, the unique cave dwelling water beetles of Boho, the Irish damselfly, the curlew and many more depend upon these habitats for their home. In many cases these are the only remaining populations of their species within Northern Ireland, and sometimes the only known examples in the world.

You can see Sonya’s presentation in Open Office or Powerpoint formats or the notes only (without pictures) on our Documents page (as item 11).