Landscape Actions within ACRES Co-operation – Drain blocking
Drain blocking can be carried out on any scale, it can be a part of a large restoration project. It could be on a very local scale to help a damaged part of the bog recover and revegetate. Or drain blocking could be used to make a bog more resilient to wildfire or to accelerate recovery after a fire.
Drain blocking does not mean flooding the land, it is about raising the water table closer to the surface. It does not mean that grazing is impossible or that the land ceases to be agricultural. By itself it is rarely the solution to preserving a bog but combined with other management techniques it can make a big difference.
The first picture shows a drain in a bog in Co. Limerick prior to it being blocked with a series of peat plugs. The second picture shows the same drain three years later. The original drain is largely devoid of life. It is sucking water out of the bog, leading to the loss of Sphagnum and other bog vegetation and the escape of Carbon that had been stored in the bog for millennia.
Within hours of the work being completed, the water level in the drain increased, by the following spring frogs were spawning in the drain and aquatic insects and vegetation were getting established. Within a few years, the drain is full of Sphagnum and Pondweed, it is a valuable addition to the bog habitat.
None of the land is flooded as a result. This is still agricultural land, but it is also delivering valuable ecosystem services. Support for habitat restoration actions like this will be important voluntary components of the Landscape Actions within ACRES Co-operation.
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