County Galway’s status as home to some of Ireland’s cleanest and unspoilt waterbodies is the subject of a series of new educational booklets launched in Connemara.
John Sharpson, an Irish language teacher and presenter of RTE’s Home School Hub, was the special guest at Scoil na bhForbacha where ‘Connemara Blue Dots: A Precious Resource’ was officially unveiled on Friday as part of World Wetlands Day 2024.
Blue Dot waters are regarded as Ireland’s best quality and most natural water bodies considering their high ecological quality and greater diversity of species that are sensitive to pollution.
The bilingual publications illustrate how dozens of Blue Dot Waters throughout West Galway provide top water quality conditions for the country’s most iconic and threatened animal and plant species, such as wild Atlantic salmon, brown trout, artic charr, freshwater pearl mussel and slender naiad, to live and thrive.
Funded through the Local Biodiversity Action Fund by the National Parks & Wildlife Service, the booklets are written and produced by Streamscapes as part of an educational initiative of Galway County Council and the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO). Their publication follows on from a series of workshops which were delivered to ten Connemara primary schools last autumn and are an action from the current Galway County Heritage & Biodiversity Plan and under the National Blue Dot Catchments Programme coordinated by LAWPRO.
Councillor Liam Carroll, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council said, “It is important to acknowledge the good work being carried out by community groups around the county in working to improve and preserve waterbodies and wetlands. The theme for World Wetlands Day 2024 relates to human wellbeing being inextricably linked to the health of the world’s wetlands. All of us must value and steward our wetlands. Every effort to protect and restore them counts.”
Liam Conneally, Chief Executive of Galway County Council commented, “Ensuring pristine water quality isn’t just a duty for the local authority; it is a commitment to safeguarding the well-being of our communities, fostering a healthier environment and sustaining the essence of life for ourselves and the generations to come.”
Liam Hanrahan, Director of Services for Economic Development & Planning with Galway County Council noted Connemara’s status as a hot spot for Blue Dot waterbodies and some of Ireland’s highest quality waters and healthiest catchments.
“Retaining this status is very much dependent on land use and water resource management of those living and working in these catchments. Managing to maintain the highest water quality here should be a source of great pride to the local communities,” he added.
Rosina Joyce, Biodiversity Officer with Galway County Council commented, “Wetlands are a key part of our core identity here in County Galway. Our bogs, rivers, lakes and coastlines define who we are as a people. These booklets inform the readers of the biodiversity treasures found within our Blue Dot ecosystems. It is only by being aware of what we have, that we can begin to take steps to protect it.”
Dr. Bernadette White, Blue Dot Catchments Programme Manager with the Local Authority Waters Programme stated, “We are delighted to partner with Galway County Council’s Biodiversity Office on the Connemara Blue Dots Project. Connemara is home to a significant number of Ireland’s highest quality waters, which is a testament to the communities who have protected these waters over the decades. The Blue Dot Catchments Programme collaborates with local communities to protect and improve these waters so that benefits for our biodiversity, our health and well-being, our heritage and climate can be enjoyed by current and future generations.”
Copies of the Connemara Blue Dots booklets are available on request for schools in Connemara, while members of the public can download them from the ‘Resources’ section of www.streamscapes.ie or request a copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.