Having to mitigate for lampreys – something you might not have reckoned on

Heron with River Lamprey* in the River Dodder this week. No aquatic ecology surveys were completed for River Dodder Flood Alleviation Scheme. In the reports prepared to inform the EIS for this scheme it is stated that “there is skepticism that lamprey are present due to the very fast current, unsuitability of sediment and the presence of weirs“. But no surveys were done.

Heron with River/Brook Lamprey on the River Dodder, Dublin, April 2018. (Photo by Stephen Walsh).
Dodder Flood Alleviation Scheme – no example of best-practice mitigation

In the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management – CIEEM conference next week however this scheme is being presented by the Office of Public Works as being an example of best-practice mitigation in a talk entitled “Leaving Space for Nature: A look at the River Dodder Flood Alleviation Scheme“.

Mitigating for lampreys is clearly something that OPW did not reckon for – and indeed the Inland Fisheries Ireland talk is entitled ” Having to mitigate for lamprey – something you might not have reckoned on“.

I could not imagine a talk ever having a title such as “Having to mitigate for bats – something you might not have reckoned on” or “Having to mitigate for [insert any other Annex II species] – something you might not have reckoned on“. The disdain that IFI have for lampreys – the body charged with protecting them in Ireland – is very clear from the title of this talk. I can barely bring myself to go to this.

The River Dodder Flood Alleviation Scheme was no example of best mitigation. But Lampreys are present here and there are records here going back to the 19th Century. Who would have reckoned!

*Lampetra spp.

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