First-of-a-Kind Biodiversity Action Plan for East Cork

By Seamus Whelehan

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An East Cork Biodiversity Programme is working to create vast nature reserves which could help species at risk of extinction to thrive.
Through their “Coastal Habitats and Walkways” project the East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme (ECBNP) have created an innovative grass cutting plan.
Cork County Council has reduced the depth and frequency of its cutting, allowing wildflowers to grow.
Specially designated areas of public land, historically kept as tightly mown lawns, will be managed as wildflower meadows, the perfect place for pollinators to thrive in and for the public to enjoy.
“The message that ‘wild is beautiful’ is a key part of the work that we are doing. Properly managing wildflower areas is just as big a challenge as a well-manicured formal garden, but adds so much more to local biodiversity and the wildlife that local communities can enjoy” said Proinsias Ó Tuama, founder of the East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme.
Almost 27 acres of coastal habitats and pathways in the Cork area have been identified as part of the project with work already ongoing on a number of sites, including the seafront at Garryvoe beach.
Mr. O Tuama added “We are in a race against time to save our bees and other pollinators that keep our countryside thriving. This is a battle we can fight, one patch of ground at a time, while also gaining huge community spirit and mental health benefit by simply being outdoors as part of team with a common aim”.
The project is funded by the Fisheries Local Action Group, Cork County Council, Irish Distillers, Pernod Ricard and Carey Tools.
“It promises to deliver and improve on our biodiverse rich habitats for our pollinators who desperately need our support” said Joe McCarthy, East Cork Municipal District Officer with Cork County Council.
The East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme is made up of the following participant community groups, businesses, community councils, NGOs, and state agencies:
Glounthaune Tidy Towns; Carrigtwohill Tidy Towns; Cully & Sully; Youghal Tidy Towns; Midleton Tidy Towns; Ladysbridge/Ballymacoda Community Council; Capel Clean Coasts; Killeagh/Inch Community Council; Midleton Distillery; Ballycotton Community Development Company; Ballycotton Tidy Towns; The Garryvoe Hotel; The Bayview Hotel; Cobh Tidy Towns; Castlemartyr Community Council; Ballymaloe Cookery School; Cork County Council; Castlemartyr Resort; National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) ; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ; An Taisce Environmental Education Unit; Birdwatch Ireland Cork Branch; Cloyne Tidy Towns; Blackrock Clean-Up Group; St. Colman's Community College; Clean Coasts Ballynamona.

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