Proposal: MKO were commissioned by the Forest Service to aid them carry out the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) process for their Draft Plan for Forests & Freshwater Peal Mussel in Ireland. The key role of MKO, in carrying out the SEA is to identify, describe and assess the likely significant effects on the environment of implementation of the Plan for Forestry and Freshwater Pearl Mussel (FPM) in Ireland, which applies to 27 no. European Designated FPM catchments around the country. This project includes our input on all stages of the SEA process: Screening, Scoping, Identification, evaluation and mitigation of potential impacts and preparation of the Environmental Report, and Consultation, revision and post-adoption activities as well as the AA process.

The objective of the draft Plan is to eliminate, reduce or mitigate diffuse and point sources of sediment and nutrients, and the disruption of the natural hydrological regime, potentially arising from forest activities undertaken within the Plan’s area, to ensure that these activities do not threaten the achievement of the conservation objectives for the Special Areas of Conservation involved. A key component of the Plan is the use of the Forestry & FPM Forest Management Framework, which enables Applicants and Registered Foresters to evaluate the degree of sensitivity regarding FPM, and to select the most appropriate approach regarding the operation in question.

A number of potential practical measures will enable natural ground vegetation and natural drainage conditions to return, thereby creating fringe wetlands and semi-natural woodland that will deliver a wide range of ecosystem services regarding the protection and enhancement of water quality and aquatic habitats, and the protection of FPM and other aquatic species.

The draft plan is currently being reviewed following a period of consultation.

Main services provided:

  • Project management of a multi-disciplinary team comprising environmental scientists, hydrologists, and ecologists;
  • Extensive liaison with the Forest Service throughout the development of the plan; and
  • Preparation of the SEA Environmental Report, and the AA Screening Report.