A Cork conservation group is exploring the potential for a high-quality biodiversity reserve to be established at Clogheen Marsh, near Clonakilty.
Clogheen Marsh and Clonakilty Biodiversity Group, made up of West Cork-based bird watchers, wildlife enthusiasts, ecologists and business people, recently toured Clogheen Marsh with Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan and a senior representative from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), during which the Minister and NPWS agreed to commence a year of studies to better understand the site and inform future management.
Cork South-West Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan TD, who is a founding member of the Group, said: “The Minister was very excited by the prospect of establishing a wildlife reserve on the site.
“Minister Noonan was impressed by the beauty of Clogheen and I’m delighted to confirm that NPWS will conduct a 12-month survey of the biodiversity at the site, along with the development of a management plan.
“It’s a first step, and it will give us a greater understanding of the status of the plants and wildlife of the site. It’s part of a wider vision to showcase the richness of West Cork’s biodiversity, and to ensure it is understood, appreciated and appropriately protected,” he said.
The Group also met with a number of local adjoining landowners and residents to discuss the potential for a world class wildlife reserve on the site.
Chair of the group and ecologist, Ciarán Cronin, said: “We really want to get this right, and the opinions of local residents are very important to us.
“What we hope to achieve is to engage people on a deeply emotional level, to bring them into contact with the truly spectacular and wondrous nature that surrounds us here in Clonakilty and West Cork. This exciting project will strive to create an ambitiously and sensitively managed wildlife reserve at Clogheen and potentially also a wildlife education centre near Clonakilty.
“This has the potential to place Clonakilty firmly on the map as the leading centre for wildlife engagement in Ireland, where it belongs,” he said.