Archive for the 'Fish' Category

Disaster – Wicklow County Council Grants Planning Permission to Irish Water

December 2nd, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Fish, Irish Water, Politics, River Basin Management, Threats, Water Directive | No Comments »

The latest news is a disaster. Wicklow County Council has shown their lack of concern for the River Vartry and in a foolish moment, decided to grant Irish Water permission. This could be considered shrewd, as they were aware that we would take this to An Bord Pleanála and this way they do not incur the wrath of the Government by doing something against them.

What is surprising is the total lack of concern for the environment by Wicklow County Council, the Government, Irish Water, the EPA and the media. I see articles in the news all about the wonderful plans to spend €250,000,000 on water infrastructure but not a mention of how this might affect the Environment. Irish Fisheries did put in a strong observation in the planning stage but have become uncomfortably silent.

The decision from WCC has only one Condition on Irish Water (other than boilerplate ones, archaeology etc) and that is
“The applicant shall maintain minimum daily compensatory flows of at least 5 Million litres per day in the Vartry River, in accordance with the details submitted on the 3rd of November 2016”. This will enforce on the River 1/3 of the current flow of 15ML per day. As well there is no enforced specification of what this water is. The Treatment Works has a poisonous discharge that can not be dumped in the river, but there is nothing in this condition to say that the 5ML is clean water. The file does contain an unworkable solution for dealing with the discharge of pumping it back over the dam into the reserviour. This we objected to on the basis that it would pollute the top of the reserviour eventually causing the water going to Dublin to be compromised. This solution was never meant to be followed and eventually the discharge will be dumped directly into the River, after it is destroyed from lack of water. This is part of our Appeal to ABP.

Reducing the flow in the river to 1/3 its present state can only be seen in a picture from the top of the Vartry by the reserviour. This is how the whole River will look if this decision is not fought.

IMG_6504

To put things into perspective, with a flow of 15ML per day in the end of November 2016 the river above the Weir in Ashford looks like this. This is spawning time and the fish have to pass through this narrow channel.

IMG_6486

Imagine now this scene with 1/3 of this water and the fish growing tiny legs to walk up the river. Although I joke to get you to imagine, it is not a joke. This is the true reality behind what is being done by the Government, WCC and Irish Water under the watchful eye of the EPA, Irish Fisheries and other that have not seen the truth. This is an EU protected river and even so, it is being treated like this. We do not what to wait for the “woops, sorry”.

I call this, “Government By Intimidation”. Nothing seems to happen without intimidation. The Government intimidates the County Council “We need housing! Build more houses where they shouldn’t be!”, “Don’t oppose Irish Water!”. The only way forward for ourselves is to use the same tactics and Intimidate the Government by pressing the media and asking all of you to join in our campaign to reach An Bord Pleanála, in force, with many people behind us.

Can you please join our campaign and donate to our Crowd Funding project? We now have to pay a Barrister and several Hydrologist and Hydrogeologist to help us make sure we win at ABP. As well we need a “War Chest” for future fights in the High Court and perhaps the Supreme Court, if necessary.
Help us Fight Irish Water to Save the River Vartry

Thanks for your support and joining us in this fight.

Wicklow County Council Only Hope to Stop Irish Water Distruction of the River Vartry

November 9th, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, Irish Water, Politics, River Basin Management, Threats, Water Directive, Wildlife | No Comments »

Irish Water have decided to go to a hardline approach and are pulling the TRUMP (no pun intended) card. “People before Fish” and saying “The storage at the Vartry has a limit and if additional water is provided in compensatory flows, it will have an impact on Irish Water’s ability to provide sustainable drinking water supply for the region.” The propose to give 1/3 of the current amount of water that is currently coming from the Roundwood Treatment Works. This is will amount to the death of the River Vartry.

If you are in any doubt about our claim, here are some pictures of the state of the river as it is now in early November. Try to imagine 1/3 of this amount of water over the Weir.

weir

Here is the width of the river going towards Ashford. The stones should not be visible.

upriver


If you want to make your voice heard, you can support our Objection by writing to the Wicklow Planning Office, Wicklow County Council, Wicklow Town. Place at the top “In support of River Vartry Protection Society’s Submission on 16363”. Tell them directly what you think.

We have put in our response to Irish Water in the Wicklow County Council under file 16363. You can go to www.eplanning.ie/WicklowCC/SearchExact and type in the file number and then see the submissions under “view scanned files”. The important ones are F.I. Clarification Letter and F.I. Received Doc. which are the Clarification asked by the Wicklow County Council and IWs response. Our response will be up there soon. I have uploaded our response which you can read the full story, if you wish here. FIClarification

We can see that Irish Water have no concern for the Environment and have no intention of preserving the status-quo of the river. It is soon going to be time for a bigger and wider campaign if we are to save the River Vartry from their grasp. We will be doing some “crowd sourcing” for funding in the event we are going to have greater need for experts and legal cost, but for the moment we are following the path and waiting for Wicklow County Council to make a decision by the end of the month on this planning.

Irish Water decides not to Negotiate to save the River Vartry

October 22nd, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Fish, Irish Water, Politics, River Basin Management, Threats, Wildlife | No Comments »

We were in negotiation with Irish Water but they decided to suspend negotiations and have a try first if they could get a decision from the Wicklow County Council. They turned in an answer to the Further Information Request with the original abstraction figures of 5ML per day against the currently released 15 ML per day. This would give the River Vartry 1/3 the amount of water in dry weather than we currently have. Anyone seeing the level of the river at the moment, would realise that there will be no fish left after this. With the fish gone, the otters are gone, the badgers are gone, the deer are gone, the herons are gone, the bats are gone, the whole ecosystem is gone, eventually destroying the Murrough. This is not imagination or scare mongering, but will be the reality if this is not fought through the planning system and the courts. Everything on the Vartry System is connected. When the microorganisms are harmed, the invertebrate and small organisms that the fish feed on, disappear. A cascading effect on all of the wildlife results.

According to the data given to us by Irish Water, the River has had 15 ML per day released all year round since 2007. We pointed out that since 2007 the status of the fish as measured by the Irish Fisheries has gone from poor to high quality, as it is now. The fish have adapted to the current regime and are thriving. It is not great when the water is so bad as it is now, but we believe even stressed by lack of oxygen, the fish will survive. Take away 2/3 of the water and they will not! Irish Water points out that these are leaks since 2007 and they do not intend release this need to fix it. We say, we do not want this reduced and they do not have the right to destroy the river.

The Wicklow County Council have again asked for Further Information Clarification on this from Irish Water, supporting our claims. Irish Fisheries and An Taisce have come down strongly against Irish Water’s submission as well. We know however that one should not get too enthusiast about this. We have seen in the past that the Planners often just ask and then regardless of the response, grant permission. If that is the case, we will be in An Bord Pleanala arguing our case for the survival of the River Vartry.

We would like to hear from you and make your voice heard. Join us and add your comment.

Roundwood Treatment Works Upgrade and Irish Water

September 2nd, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, Irish Water, Politics, Polution, River Basin Management, Water Directive | No Comments »

Irish Water, the River Vartry Protection Society and the Vartry Conservation and Angling Club have been meeting to discuss what can be done for the benefit of everyone. Irish Water would like to solve the issues before answering their Further Information Request by the Wicklow County Council. From our standpoint, as Riparian Owners, there are two issue; Pollution, and Abstraction.

We have insisted on an EIA after the decision by our last meeting that this is mandatory requirement in our eyes. The issue however is really simpler. If we could be 100% assured that the quality of the water immediately down stream of the works was perfect at all times and could allow us to reach High status water quality, then an EIA would not really be necessary. Irish Water are working towards this and have be innovative in their approach but we will need some scientific proofs and ways to insure that this is working and continues to produce these results, over drought and all year, every year. Failsafe equipment and monitoring would be required to prevent any disasters but again Irish Water are willing to work with us and the IFI toward this.

The subject of Abstraction is ongoing and will need some more time. We do not have the data required to assess what the flow should be in the river in order to always have sufficient water over the beds and in time of the Spawn to have sufficient water that the fish feel comfortable and will be safe to spawn. We will be urgently working with the IFI to try and determine this but we will not have years to develop this data (as we should have had). We understand the urgency felt by Irish Water and will have to work towards an accelerated schedule but sufficient to assure good results. This negotiation is ongoing and will be need cooperation from both sides, but we are hopeful that there is a good understanding between. In the end the River Vartry will have the protection it needs to be a model salmonoid river and example of cooperation between the pressures on Water Resources.

PPN Hosts LAWCO and LEADER Program meeting

July 18th, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, River Basin Management, Water Directive | No Comments »

On Saturday the 16th in the Ashford Community and Heritage Centre we had a meeting with the new body LAWCO and the County Wicklow Partnership. LAWCO is an acronym for Local Area Water Communities Office, nothing to do with LAW. Ray Spain of LAWCO, This new group is a connection group between groups like ourselves and the EPA and the Department of Environment (which is having an Identity Crisis of it’s own as to what to call it!). It’s purpose is to get Local Knowledge “up the chain” so that water decisions are based on sound knowledge and real facts from the people who know it best. We have great hopes for this new entity and already they have show how important they are.
Alison Keogh of the County Wicklow Partnership explained various funding available for Environmental Groups and we have started thinking of applying for a grant through the Ashford Development Association Ltd. We may be able to find funding for the lingering project of replacing the Weir at Ashford with some attractive and fish friendly alternative. As well we would try to incorporate several other issues down at that point of the river, which is the spread of Japanese Knotweed (visible from the bridge) and the overgrowing of the river by the trees, blocking light essential for the fish.
We will keep you up to date on the progress of this Application.

River Vartry Survey

May 6th, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, History, River Basin Management | No Comments »

The Vartry Angling and Conservation Club has been instrumental in getting experts from the UK, The Wild Trout Trust, to travel over and survey our River. We can not thanks them enough for the most comprehensive study of the Vartry River since St. Patrick stepped out of his boat and onto the banks of the River Dee, as it was once known. After my extensive all the historical documents on the River, this will be the one looked at in 200 years from now.

Thank you Luke for your perseverance to making this happen.

The full document is attached here and can be read and studied. River Vartry Survey The purpose originally was to look at the possible reconstruction of the Weir at Ashford, but we can now follow this in our future efforts to improve and keep safe the river. Their comments on the Weir should be followed and efforts should be made to make the Weir look nice, but without reconstructing it and following the guidelines indicated here.

Irish Water Roundwood Treatment Works Upgrade Threatens River Vartry

May 1st, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Fish, Irish Water, River Basin Management, Threats | No Comments »

We held a meeting to review our Objection to the Treatment Works Upgrade which was well attended by members and the public. We added 6 more Riparian Owners who we had not identified previously. We now have probably 90% of the owners together, which strengthens our sphere of influence.

I retold the original vision of why we started the society and perhaps it is worth retelling.

I woke one morning with a dream/vision of the River Vartry winding its way through all of our lives who live along the River. It flows from one to another and links us all. I saw all of the Owners and neighbours holding hands on both sides of the River, making a continuous chain from the Reservoir to the Sea. There were fathers, sons, daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren all committed to keeping the River safe from threats such as this.

This sponsorship of a River ends up being unique and a real force to keeping the River Vartry safe and improving its quality of water and fish better and better. This will ensure that the River will pass on from generation to generation providing Wicklow with the channel and Ecosystem of wildlife and protected species.

It was clear from the meeting that we are going to fight this Upgrade until we are sure that it does not harm the River Vartry in any way. All are committed. If you want to see our Objection which covers all of the major threats and Irish Water’s callous dismissal of damage, please contact me or you can look on Wicklow County Council Planning Reference 16363. It will be lodged on the 3rd of May. If you wish to object, you will need to get it in by the 12th of May when the date for submissions closes.

Environmental Issues from Irish Water Planning Permission for Roundwood Treatment Works

April 21st, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, Irish Water, River Basin Management, Threats | No Comments »

It has been a long time since there has been a need for the River Vartry Protection Society to meet together as there has not been such a situation as we have now that threatens our River Varty like this. At this point there is a planning application that needs answering by the 12th of May and has me very frightened as to what might happen to the river.

We are having a meeting in the Ashford Community Hall at 8:00 pm on Tuesday 26th which will be attended by the River Vartry Protection Society (hopefully most of the Riparian Owners will be present), the Vartry Angling and Conservation Club, and the Friends of the Murrough primarily. There will be members of the public as well, I presume. If you know someone that should be there, perhaps living along the river, please pass this information along to them.

We have many issues with this planning application 16363 in the name of Irish Water for Strategic Infrastructure costing 250 Million, as we believe it must have an Environment Impact Study and should really be in the hands of An Bord Pleanala since it crosses both Wicklow Council and Dublin Corp.

The main issues are:

Irish Water believe they do not need a EIA because the Murrough is 9 KM away, only linked by the River Vartry. (They ignore the polution they WILL cause to the River Vartry (they admit to this in their application).
1- They are stopping all leaks from the current works which supplies 4 Million Litres a day to the river.
2- They want to increase the damaging discharge from 1700 m3 per day to 4000 m3 per day and 4 locations into the River rather than currently 2.
3- The discharge will be worse than it was before with more contaminants due to more efficient cleaning than before.
4- Their consultant quotes “The discharge comprises 35% of the daily flow (as it is today) of the River Vartry at the discharge location. Therefore a potential localised impact on the water quality within the River Vartry at this site is anticipated. This impact could be measurable up to the point of the next significant inflow to the River Vartry approximately 300m downstream from the discharge. However…” They think the river has anough assimilative capacity to absorb their pollution. The inflow they talk of has negligible water added to the river in the dry season.
5- I don’t believe that this is even accurate as they intend to have 0% loss of water to the river, so the 35% will be more like 100% when they stop the leaks.
6- They state that it is an EU protected river, but completely ignore it in all their assessments as to impact they will cause.
7- They quote 2008 figures for fish and don’t admit to the fact that it is one of the better rivers in Ireland and very very important.

The Murrough may be affected by silt and potential spills from the construction (they say) and could be subject to oil or other spillages but they will TRY to mitigate this. There is no authority inspecting or supervising that they will actually mitigate this happening and their procedures 100% bullet proof.

I will have the draft objection circulated before the meeting.

It would be nice if you could make it. Tea and Cake and good company as well.

Vartry River Fish Kill

July 4th, 2012 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, Polution, Threats | No Comments »

In June 2012 there was a Fish Kill on the River Vartry which is being investigated by the Fisheries and reported on the website of Wicklow County Council. The cause has not yet been determined.

On Thursday the 28th we found a large 35 cm probably Sea Trout (or possibly Salmon) dead on the edge of the River. At first I thought that this was a positive sign since the fish seemed fully healthy and I presumed that death was caused by the flood the night before. While it is a positive sign to see such size fish in the river at this time, the negative issue of why and how such an event can happen is very upsetting.

I hope that we can have news soon of just how this happened and how it can be prevented in the future as the Fisheries work hard to get to the bottom of this.
Again “hats off” to the Fisheries for their diligence and continued support of the River Vartry which has taken it back from the brink to a good condition to host such fine fish. We can’t afford to loose them, but we hope that it is a preventable event that will not occur again and that we can recover from this.

A New Important Environmental Study for the River Vartry

August 30th, 2010 -- Posted in Active, Fish, River Basin Management | No Comments »

In this time of recession, we all tend to be busy keeping our “heads above water” but the fish are working to keep their “heads below water”. We had the biggest flood since Hurricane Charlie and drought this summer with the usual hopelessly low water conditions. It is an urgent situation that we now complete the initiative set out in the River Basin Management Plan for the Vartry and not wait until 2015 when it must be complete. It states “Establish Minimum Instream Flow Conditions and requirements for compensation releases to allow flow variations”. Nothing will be done if we are not proactive on this. Recession is a good time to push the authorities to set this Compensatory Flows (according to the EU law), since pressures of development are lessened.

At our first meeting in the fall, we discussed the “Scientific Approach” which was to find a way to equate “flow and level” to “oxygen and temperature” and the necessity of scientific help to develop this equation for the River Vartry. The Central Fisheries Board have been of great help to the River and us by encouraging John Clarke of UCD to make his MSc thesis on the Vartry River. We have been very lucky to have John doing this important work which hopefully will form the backbone of future work to insure that more water flows in the Vartry. John has taken measurements over the past months and is now formalising his results. Once he has published, we will hopefully be able to provide access to the complete study for everyone.
Thanks John from all of us.

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