CLEAR Coastal Lagoons: Ecology & Restoration
CLEAR is a research project co-funded by the EPA (Ireland) and the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the EPA 2018 Water Research Call. Funding for this project was awarded to AQUAFACT International Services Ltd and our project partners Roden Oliver Associates, Hydro Environmental Ltd., BEC Consultants and the French National Centre for Scientific Research. Details on Project partners can be found here. The research will focus on Lady's Island Lake in Co. Wexford, one of Ireland's largest coastal lagoons, which are Annex I priority habitats. The nearby Ballyteige Lagoon will be used as a control site.
This research project seeks to address the two pressures of water pollution and hydrological modification on lagoon ecology by answering a number of questions: which nutrient limits growth in the lagoon or is growth light limited? What is the fate of these nutrients once in the lagoon? Do they accumulate in lagoonal sediments or are they exported to sea? Are sediment-bound nutrients available to the ecosystem and will they persist, even if additional imports cease? Does breaching/piping under the lagoon barrier accelerate the export of nutrients to sea? If breaching/piping under the barrier occurs, what effect will changes in salinity have on the lagoon's ecosystem? By studying a single site, we would hope to describe and review the major factors involved in lagoon degradation and propose restoration methods applicable to other sites. While the initial outcome of the project will be a detailed plan to restore the Lady’s Island site, the project will also result in methods to quantify excessive nutrient inputs and impacts of lagoon turnover or flushing rates on conservation status for all Irish lagoons and suggest a suite of techniques which could reduce nutrient loading.
A description of the research project can be found here