Newry, Mourne and Down District Council through the Ring of Gullion Partnership have joined forces with the River Restoration Centre in the UK to provide a one day practical workshop in the Forkhill Women’s Resource Centre on Saturday 4th February. The workshop is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn foundation, and primarily aimed at community groups and volunteers.
Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council says “ We are very lucky to be working with The River Restoration Centre (RRC), who has a long history of facilitating and hosting a range of different training courses and thematic workshops for restoration practitioners, river basin planners, policy makers and interested groups. Their workshops are aimed at increasing the skills of attendees and their value lies in the opportunity to learn not only from the experienced teachers but also from interacting with others from different backgrounds in a practical environment.”
Not sure what River restoration is? It is the re-establishment of natural physical processes (e.g. variation of flow and sediment movement), features (e.g. sediment sizes and river shape) and physical habitats of a river system (including submerged, bank and floodplain areas).”
Naturally functioning rivers and floodplains provide ample benefits to society including flood regulation, freshwater supply, tourism/recreation, water purification, carbon storage and improved human health. Many of these benefits, along with biodiversity and habitat, are compromised if rivers are modified.
River restoration projects encourage local communities to engage in their local environment, raising awareness of environmental issues. To ensure local communities benefit as much as possible from river restoration projects, it is important to involve all interested organisations and individuals from the outset.
The workshop follow the format of a one day event with presentations and interactive sessions where participants will be expected to work through technical examples and, where feasible, a site visit to put into practice what we have learned in the morning session. The training courses are open to anyone who has an interest in the river and its improvement and development. This workshop will provide training in how to assess, plan and deliver river restoration projects.
This project is of a wider Shared Waters Project which is funded by Northern Ireland’s Environment Agency’s Challenge Fund which is running in Forkhill, Mullaghbane and Cullyhanna until mid-March. To find out more about the project and get involved, visit the Ring of Gullion Website.
The importance of community involvement in river restoration and catchment management is recognised and there are plenty of ways to get involved. Monitoring rivers is crucial for understanding their health. It can help identify problems, provide evidence to justify why restoration should take place, and demonstrate the effectiveness of completed works.
This training is free and supported by Newry Mourne and Down District Council, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Esmée Fairbairn foundation, Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.