It has been a busy and successful year in the Ecology team at MKO. We have welcomed several Ecologists to the team and continue to grow and develop our skill base and capacity to take on new and exciting work.
We are now providing electro-fishing surveys as part of our overall aquatic service offering and marine mammal observation. We continue to develop and work in the areas of nature restoration and Biodiversity Net Gain, which we see as an important and growing field integral to the meaningful restoration of biodiversity within Ireland. We have been undertaking ecological surveys using a drone with thermal imaging and colour recognition capabilities. We continue experimenting with the practical application of this technology for both faunal and botanical/habitat surveys. Our Conservation Detection Dog team is now fully operational and undertaking carcass searches at numerous operation wind farms. We have set up an East Coast Ecology service based in our Dublin office, headed by Senior Ecologist, Corey Cannon.
We have been actively involved in several national and international committees relating to nature conservation. These include the CIEEM Policy Committee and the Working Together to Resolve the Environmental Effects of Wind Energy (WREN) committee. We have attended, sponsored and spoken at numerous conferences, including the CIEEM, Irish Planning Institute, the Irish Landscape Institute and Bat Conservation Ireland conferences. In addition, we have been actively engaged in ecological research, where we have designed and undertaken experiments, including a public participation event, to determine the accuracy of surveyors in determining the height at which a bird is flying. This has a practical application in the surveying of birds and calculating impacts as a result on wind farms. We partnered with Galway County Council, Holy Rosary College Mountbellew, NPWS, Bord na Mona, University of Galway, Coillte and others. We undertook a Bioblitz – to count as many species as possible within a 24-hour period.
In addition to the above, we have provided and facilitated a lot of training and education for the team and completed numerous ecological surveys, assessments and reporting. Check out some of the photos our team took throughout the year.