The European Commission Representation in Ireland has announced two new EU-funded projects aimed at restoring Ireland’s blanket bogs and improving water quality.

The projects will be funded to the tune of over €20 million from the EU’s ‘LIFE’ environmental programme. The project that will receive the highest proportion of that (€12 million) is the Wild Atlantic Nature programme.

This project aims to restore blanket bogs in 24 of the country’s Natura 2000 sites. This project will involve the removal of encroaching trees and shrubs. Drains will also be blocked to raise water levels.

The Wild Atlantic Nature project is apparently designed to “increase awareness of the ecological value of blanket bogs and their importance for climate change mitigation, while developing a sense of community ownership of local peatlands”.

This project, which will be co-ordinated by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will run until December 2028.

The second project announced today, Monday, February 17, is the Waters of Life programme, which aims to restore “high ecological status waterbodies” in Ireland.

This project coincides with the national river basin management plan for 2018 to 2021. The EU project is designed to “test the effectiveness” of that plan’s measures “across a range of landscapes”.

A statement from the commission’s representation in Ireland said that the project will “encourage local communities and landowners to get involved in developing management actions for farm and forest land”.

This project will be co-ordinated by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, and will receive €9 million in European funding.