The River Feale is changing its course at Abbeyfeale. This is threatening the town’s water supply which is located on the original course. Rivers change their courses naturally but agriculture and other impacts in this catchment may have increased bank erosion. The River Feale at Abbeyfeale is located within the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation. There is no simple solution here and any works here will require Appropriate Assessment as this is a Natura 2000 river.
Some of the recent media reports regarding this issue can be found here:-
Some photos from the site during March 2016 are provided below.
Also see this video of the affected stretch of river from March 2016.
It it clear that some intervention will be required here due to the fact that the river is a municipal water supply source. If work is undertaken on the river channel itself then it is clear that soft engineering river restoration approaches will be the most likely solution.
Bank erosion is a widespread problem in the River Feale catchment and has increased as a consequence of agricultural activities such as clearance of river banks and overgrazing. There have also been impacts from wind farm developments in the catchment, including a catastrophic landslide and fish kill in the Smearlagh catchment located downstream from this site. Forestry activities and drainage works in the catchment have also contributed to the problem. Climate change is also an issue with the major floods of the winter of 2015/16 clearly also having a role in increasing erosion and channel instability. Erosion and subsequent siltation are a major threat to fish and other aquatic life in the river channel.