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Archive for December, 2009

The stream is forced by the build up of sand and gravel at waters edge to alter its natural course of entering the sea straight on and instead turn sharp left and travel along the edge of the foredunes for 250 metres thus exacerbating the already serious erosion to that dune system.

This must have an impact upstream where a number of housing developments exist and could create flooding and damage the adjacent fen system.

The bottle is at the edge of the drop on to the beach. It is 36 meters from the buckthorn bush in the background. The Brittas Bay Coastcare group will regularly check on that distance throughout the winter to note continuing erosion

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(See IEN and Coastwatch websites)

he terrible damage and loss of the November floods has lead to an understandable call for immediate flood defence.  However water needs to go somewhere.  Every pond or floodplain filled with earth, waste, buildings, every new barrier to flood waters leads to a higher flood risk somewhere else. Channelled rivers flow faster, carry huge silt loads and heavy objects which cause more damage.

Other countries such as the Netherlands and UK have embarked on major setback and wetland restoration  for more natural, cost effective flood  management. The same schemes also improve water quality and ecology.  It is most urgent that we review our policy, change our laws and carry out individual action to make us more flood resilient.

Coastwatch is calling for: A wetland policy of ‘No more net wetland loss – in quality or quantity’. This is already stated in the Ramsar World Wetland Convention which Ireland signed decades ago. That nees to be translated into clear messages: ‘Ponds, wetlands, barrels are in. as they soak up water. Tarmac and concrete drives are out’, as they cause problems.

  1. A review of our first flood policy, with more emphases on wetland restoration to accommodate flood waters and regain other wetland services – such as restoring fish nurseries. It must also address the serious problems of dune loss due to water caught between  hinterland and dune.
  2. Changes in law are overdue. We need:-
    urgent amendment to the 2009 planning bill which still exempts wetland drainage from planning permission. Such an amendment was tabled by Trevor Sargent TD in his wetland bill which passed first stage in 2002, but has hibernated since.
    The Land Reclamation Act 1949 belongs in Davy Jones’s Locker. Its place should be taken by a Wetland Protection, Restoration and Wise Use Law. Wetland users, potential abusers, managers and law enforcers need clarity.
    Whether in a new act or as amendments to present legislation, any unavoidable wetland loss, must be compensated by wetland creation in quality and quantity.
    Authorities and courts must be obliged to seek restoration of illegal wetland infill.
  3. Finance:  The EU rural development money and axed REPS 4 funds need to be targeted at wetland restoration and enhancement of natural flood retention features.  E.g. farm level pond excavations, planting of wetland vegetation, restoration of flood plains and significant farm level incentives to allow some land to flood with adequate provision for stock safety.While a ‘Sealer tax’ on impervious surface (drives, car parks)  acts as incentive for change.
  4. Voluntary action similar to that helping flood victims now, is needed to plan our adaptation to future flood events.  Millions  of small adjustments  are needed.
    We need individual home owners, schools, offices, farms to look at their own back yard – can it hold more water for slow release?
    A massive voluntary spring planting effort of vegetation suitable for the position ands job it is to do – like willow which soaks up and slows down water along streams would already yield some results by summer 2010.

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