The Department of Agriculture has produced a frequently asked questions about GLAS and we’ve pulled together all the information available on watercourses.

Q. If a farmer enters GLAS in Tier 1 or Tier 2 and has the required watercourses, it states in the specifications he must then choose the ‘protection of watercourses from bovines’ as a compulsory action. However, the specifications for ‘protection of watercourses from bovines’ require that the farmer must have had bovines in 2013, and retain bovines on farm for duration of contract.

What happens if this farmer did not have bovines in 2013?

A. Not eligible if no bovines in 2013 and no grass parcels contiguous to a HSWS. If a farmer is eligible for this action, the information will be provided in the online application system.

Q. If a farmer chooses the action ‘protection of watercourses from bovines’ is he allowed to include watercourses which are already fenced, but may need to be re-fenced?

Also can he include fenced watercourses which were required to be fenced in previous agri schemes like REPS, where the fences are still fit for purpose?

A. Yes – measure is to protect watercourses for duration of contract. All watercourses on the holding must be fenced if taking this action.

Q. Are watercourses on land which is leased for the duration of GLAS contract eligible for submission under ‘protection of watercourses from bovines’?

A. Yes.

Q. If the watercourse is internal with the applicants land touching both sides, will they be paid the 1.50 on each side?

A. If the parcels are grassland and the person has bovines, then yes, they will be paid for both sides.

Q. If a farmer who wishes to try and enter GLAS as a Tier 1 resulting from greater than 140 kg N ha/year in 2013. Will it be an issue if in 2013 this farmer was over the limit, at 172kg N/ha/yr?

A. This will not be an issue.

Q. If a farmer has some of the specified farmland birds on his land, and these lands are not mapped by the NWPS, what position will this farmer be in?

A. Can he apply to the NWPS to seek his lands being approved and mapped and thus, apply as a Tier 1?

New datasets will not be taken from NPWS on an annual basis.

Q. Under the action ‘protection of watercourses from bovines’, can you please define a watercourse?

A. High- and vulnerable status water courses will be identified in the application system. Where the protection of watercourse action is selected as a general action, the watercourses are those
taken from the EPA Rivers layer.

Q. If there are lakes on the land do these have to be fenced off?

A. No.

Q. Also under the ‘protection of watercourses from bovines’, if there is already a stock proof fence in place (2 strands of wire), will a farmer be allowed to put this already fenced watercourse into his GLAS application and seek payment on it?

A. Yes, the payment is to maintain the fence for the duration of the contract; however all watercourses on the holding must be fenced and the fence must be 1.5m out from the top of the bank.

Q. Riparian Margin – If you have wooded area between stream and field, Does this qualify as part of the margin (I know that scrub is excluded)?

A. The parcel must have a reference area greater than zero.

Q. If the watercourse runs in and outside the LPIS boundary can you only measure the watercourses that are present within and on the LPIS parcel in question?

A. Once the farmer takes this action, he must map – record length of all watercourses on his holding, fence them irrespective of which parcel they are in i.e. it is not parcel specific.

Q. Can you view tier 1 and tier 2 watercourses anywhere, without having to get the potential client uploaded on the GLAS mapping system.

Does the high status watercourses on the EPA website give you both tier 1 and tier 2?

A. The data for high status and vulnerable watercourses has been provided to us by the EPA. The definitive watercourses are those that appear on a client’s potential application.
The River Status Information on the EPA is a guide. 

Q. I have a farmer and on the maps there are blue lines indicating a river. In order to enter the scheme, must he fence off this river or is it optional?

A. If the applicant falls into the high-status or vulnerable water areas and wishes to enter GLAS, then they must fence all watercourses. If they are not in these categories, but are choosing the
protection of watercourse from bovines as a general action, then they must fence all watercourses.

Q. How do I find out if they are in a High-Status or vulnerable water area. Does it state that on the system? If so, where?

A. When you look at a client’s application in the GLAS system, on their farm profile, you will see what attributes the holding has including any designated watercourses.

Q. I have a client who has a LPIS with high quality river on a parcel which is compulsory to fence off. Is this LPIS out for forestry even though full parcel will not be planted?

A. See 4th paragraph of page 59 of spec, must remain in grass for duration of contract.

Q. If a farmer has a wet drain/WC that has water in it 90% of the time but it is not registered as a WC on the GLAS mapping system, can he still put down for protection of WC from bovines?

A. If a water course does not appear on the GLAS mapping system, then it cannot be chosen for the protection of water courses from bovines action.

Q. Can the difference between ‘High Status Water Areas’ and ‘Vulnerable Water Area’ be clarified? Also are these ‘Vulnerable Water Areas’ available on EPA maps, or where can they be found?

A. A guide to river status information on the EPA website is available on DAFM’s website at, follow the link to open the River Status Information on EPA website document. Vulnerable water site information will be available on the online application system.

Q. I see you cannot do the Wild Bird Cover action and plant hedgerows on the same parcel. Is that correct?

Is that the same where a farmer is fencing watercourses?

You must fence all watercourses on the farm and the farmer is completing this action and the WBC action and there are some of the watercourses on a parcel where WBC will be planted. How does he deal with the watercourses?

The only actions that may be carried out with wild bird cover on a whole parcel are, bat, bird and bee boxes, bee sand, low emission slurry spreading and rare breeds. If a water course needs to be fenced on a particular parcel, wild bird cover cannot be carried out on the parcel.