ECOFACT have been appointed by Waterways Ireland to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Natura Impact Statement for proposed repair and upgrading works at Meelick and Marlborough Weirs on the River Shannon. The works proposed include the replacement of the walkway and the weir boards with a new walkway and moveable steel weir. Parts of the walkway were washed away and sections of the weir where boards are put in and out by hand were damaged by the floods of 2009.
The study area lies within the boundaries of the River Shannon Callows cSAC (site code: 000216). This is a long and diverse site which extends for approximately 50 km from the town of Athlone (at the southern point of Lough Ree) to the town of Portumna (northern point of Lough Derg). The site mainly consists of seasonally flooded, semi-natural, lowland wet grassland along and beside the River Shannon. Smaller areas of lowland dry grassland, drainage ditches, freshwater marshes, reedbeds and wet woodland also occur within the site along the River Shannon. The study area also lies within the boundaries of the Middle Shannon Callows SPA (site code: 004096). The site covers the same area as the River Shannon Callows cSAC and therefore consists of the same habitats. The site is of international importance for wintering waterfowl and of national importance for breeding waterfowl.
ECOFACT have extensive experience of environmental studies on the River Shannon, and are looking forward to working with Waterways Ireland on this important and interesting project.