Saturday, September 4, 2021
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Farmers along River Derg help protect cross-border drinking water and wildlife

The Source to Tap project’s agricultural Land Incentive Scheme has been a huge success and the project team wants to pay tribute to local landowners for their contribution towards protecting local river water quality and wildlife.

In total, 119 landowners have benefited from funding through the €1.02 million cross-border pilot scheme.

The grants have helped farmers invest in alternative land-management practices, which can lessen the impact on water quality in nearby rivers.

Through the provision of personalised water and environment management plans, issues that affect water quality have been addressed, including herbicide application by contractors using weed wipers, provision of fencing to prevent livestock from entering watercourses and solar powered drinking troughs.

The Land Incentive Scheme is part of the overall €4.9 million EU INTERREG VA-funded cross-border Source to Tap project.

The project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, match-funded by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland, the Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) in the Republic, and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

“The landowners involved have made a huge impact in protecting river water quality throughout the Derg catchment and we look forward to seeing the improvements continue well into the future,” said Diane Foster, NI Water Project Manager.

Although the Land Incentive Scheme is now coming to a close, the project team can still offer free farm visits with a bespoke water environment management plan. This is a great resource for farmers wishing to reduce their herbicide usage and those hoping to prevent sediment loss from the farm.

Moreover, farmers who want to learn the weed wiping technique for herbicide application can attend an online rush control webinar planned for mid-September.

The Source to Tap project doesn’t work exclusively with landowners: members of the public can also get involved by becoming citizen scientists who monitor water quality in the rivers and streams of the Derg catchment.

The Riverfly Monitoring Training event is free to attend and will be held at the Killeter Heritage Centre on Saturday (August 14) from 10am-4pm.

This is a fantastic opportunity for volunteers who are passionate about protecting and improving their local river.

n Register now by emailing:

info@sourcetotap.eu

or phone +44 (0)7948 354026.

n Further information on the

INTERREG VA project can be found at www.sourcetotap.eu/

Advice on herbicide usage can be

found on the NI Water website

www.niwater.com/

sitefiles/resources/pdf/

watercatchment/

adviceonpestacides.pdf

n Teagasc website at www.teagasc.ie/environment/water-quality/assap-farming-for-water-quality/improving-my-water-quality/protecting-drinking-water-from-pesticides/

n DAFM website www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/sud/waterprotection

n The Voluntary Initiative website voluntaryinitiative.org.uk/media/1012/1463_s4.pdf

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