A bog restoration project in the Garron Plateau, Co. Antrim - the first of its kind in Northern Ireland - has won an award for “Business and Biodiversity” at the Business in the Community Awards 2014.

Steve Maynard, Conservation Works Officer, one of the team from Moors for the Future Partnership who advised on the project,  is pictured (front left) with staff from Northern Ireland Water, the RSPB, Euro Services and the Environment Agency at the award ceremony.

Restoration works were carried out on 2,000 hectares of blanket bog – the largest area of intact peatland in Northern Ireland – on behalf of Northern Ireland Water and the RSPB. As this was the first project of its kind in Northern Ireland, Moors for the Future were called in to advise on the techniques.

Channels that were used in the past as drainage were blocked to reduce erosion and raise the water table, making the peatland wet again. This will promote the re-growth of mosses and other bog plants and has turned eroding drains into lines of pools (below) which provide good conditions for a range of invertebrates, amphibians and moorland birds.

The old drainage chanel at Dungonnell bog is blocked with peat dams to raise the water table.

Most of the channels were blocked using peat from the gully sides. The peat was removed using a digger and spaced along the channels to create a series of dams. This is a cost effective technique and uses the natural materials of the bog itself.

Where the peat was not deep enough timber dams were built. These will eventually degrade naturally, but not before the pools have silted up and blocked the drains.

The whole team was delighted that these environmental improvements have been recognised in the wider community.

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