The KerryLIFE Project

The KerryLIFE project aims to implement, in co-operation with farmers and forest owners, a wide range of measures that will enable farming and forestry to be practised, in a way that sustains both the pearl mussel population and the livelihood of the farm and forest enterprises.

The specific project objectives of KerryLIFE include:

  • To demonstrate effective conservation measures that will restore the freshwater pearl mussel to favourable conservation condition in the Caragh and Blackwater catchments.
  • To demonstrate sustainable management techniques for farming and forestry in freshwater pearl mussel catchments.
  • To enhance awareness and understanding of the freshwater pearl mussel amongst local stakeholders.
  • To provide guidance for farming and forestry practices that support the conservation of freshwater pearl mussels.

Expected Results

The KerryLIFE project aims to deliver an improvement across 20% (or c. 10 km) of the freshwater pearl mussel habitat in the Caragh and Blackwater river systems. The project also aims to deliver an improvement in juvenile recruitment across 5% (or c. 2.5 km) of the occupied freshwater pearl mussel habitats in the catchments .

Freshwater pearl mussel

  • An improvement in the condition of the habitat for the freshwater pearl mussel through a reduction in siltation and eutrophication
  • Increased recruitment of juvenile mussels to the population which will support achievement of favourable conservation condition
  • Reduced losses of silt and nutrients from forest and farm project sites

Farms and forests

  • The successful implementation of farm management plans on up to 50 farms
  • The successful implementation of 10 plans for project actions on 10 forest properties
  • The sustainable management of approximately 2,500 ha of farmland
  • The provision of alternative drinking water facilities
  • The establishment of 15 ha of native woodland on farmland
  • The management of 10 ha of existing native broadleaf woodland on farmland
  • The conversion of 15 ha of commercial forestry to native broadleaf woodland
  • The restructuring of 175 ha of commercial plantation into long-term retention woodland

Outreach

  • Greater awareness and understanding of freshwater pearl mussels amongst the local community and key stakeholders
  • Development and delivery of a school education programme
  • Provision of training workshops and demonstration event to farmer, forest-owners and other catchment users
  • Development of a walk way and on-farm tourism infrastructure.
  • Development of best practice guides for a diverse range of end-users involved in catchment management