Friday Flora and Fauna
Well bloggers, today’s entry will be a short one as I’m up to my eyes (thank feck). While researching the (Draft) Galway County Development Plan 2009 – 2015 for policy on visual impact assessment and protected views, I reviewed the section on Guidelines for Heritage, Landscape and Environmental Management and noticed that Galway County Council has included a Development Management Standard on Designated Environmental Sites (DM Standard 38 ) regarding “Eco-hydrological Assessments”.
This is an interesting and welcome direction given that somewhere in the region of 70% of Ireland’s bedrock is comprised of limestone. The implications for flora and fauna are obvious. Let me spell it out briefly; in areas that are well drained any major changes in the hydrology could affect the water table and thus the flora and fauna dependant on that water level. This is more applicable in those areas where flora and fauna are intrinsically linked to the amount of water available to a greater or lesser extent.
Take the flora of a Turlough, an Irish phenomenon where summer meadows are seasonally inundated with winter rainwater and turn into wetlands. Grassland habitats in the summer are replaced with roosting sites for winter visiting birds.
The need to understand the potential impacts of a proposed development on the ecosystem as a whole is a given. This guideline will hopefully ensure more comprehensive assessment of development sites and those impacts.