Construction firm Sisk, in collaboration with a co-Mayo farmer and Green Restoration Ireland, has re-wetted a 20-hectare swamp in Lacduff, Ducastle, near the Mayo-Roscommon border.
Rewetting bogs include blocking drains to restore water levels within peatlands so plants can grow and improve animal habitat in marshes and downstream rivers.
It also locks in carbon and C02 emissions and the Lacduff Swamp Project aims to lock in at least 36,000 tonnes of carbon permanently into the marshes, and avoid 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Swamps and others in the area feed in part of the Moy River, a tributary of the Owengarve.
Rare wildlife in the eastern Mayo is also expected to benefit as a result of bog rewetting, including skylarks, meadow pipit, snipes, curlews as well as red-listed bird species of Irish hare.
Raised marshes create habitat for rare species because they are such a rich source of flora.
Natural emissions of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) at Lakeduff currently range from 1.4 to 2.14 tonnes per year. The goal is to reduce this to 90 percent.
Of the 20 hectares of degraded marshes in Lakeduff, about 8.24 hectares is affected by drainage ditches and an estimated 11 km of drains have to be blocked for full restoration works to be carried out.
Lacduff farmer Incorporated Tommy McGovern said the scheme was “a means to help with carbon capture and emissions”.
The future, he said, “will have to work the swamp to fix the climate crisis and, with the help of GRI and Cisk, we will”.
Green Restoration Ireland will scientifically oversee the Lacduff project, the results of which could inform further projects to address emissions from agriculturally managed peatlands – particularly in the Midlands.
The organization, founded in 2019, also hopes to use its projects to raise public awareness of the ecological importance of peatland ecosystems.
Ireland accounts for 50 percent of the eroded marshes in the European Union and hopes they can become an important carbon store, reducing the state’s overall carbon emissions.
The Irish Farmers Union has said it would like to see the carbon credits generated by such schemes – as well as forestry – be owned by farmers. IFA President Tim Cullinan warned last month that “the state will not steal our carbon credits”.