NI Water helps biodiversity by planting over 10,000 trees

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Since the start of 2019, NI Water been involved in the planting of over 10,000 native trees, as part of a five year Riparian Planting project.

The trees are a mixture of native broadleaf species, planted in large areas close to the Glenedra River, from which water is abstracted to supply Caugh Hill Water Treatment Works (WTW), near Dungiven, Co Londonderry.

A riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream. NI Water, working alongside The Woodland Trust and The Loughs Agency, is delighted to support this ‘Green Infrastructure’ project, in the second phase of this five year planting scheme.

NI Water’s Becca Allen said: “We are so pleased to be working with The Woodland Trust on this excellent catchment protection initiative. Riparian tree planting not only protects our raw water quality but also provides a home for wildlife and helps reduce the effect of climate change.”

The planting of trees stabilises river banks and prevents livestock encroachment, thus sustainably improving water quality for treatment at Caugh Hill WTW. It also helps with flood alleviation, improves the spawning habitats for aquatic life and reduces NI Water’s carbon footprint.

In addition to the native trees, a further 2,000 willow pegs have been planted in the area by 25 volunteers, which were cut from local willow trees. An additional seven hectares of land suitable for riparian planting has also been identified closer to the Glenedra source, which will further stabilise this important water source.

The partnership of NI Water, Loughs Agency and The Woodland Trust have also planted 17,000 trees along the Faughan and Burntollet Rivers this planting season. There are further plans to plant riparian strips along 36km of riverbanks, upstream of Carmoney WTW raw water abstraction.

Funding sources and farmer negotiations are ongoing by The Woodland Trust.

This work will help alleviate flood risk along the river and provide shade for spawning fish and habitats for wildlife.

This tree planting partnership is an excellent example of how organisations can contribute directly to long lasting environmental benefits for people and wildlife, improve water quality and also lower their carbon footprint.

For more information and to support The Woodland Trust, visit https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/support-us/

Or contact NI Water’s Catchment Liaison Officer Rebecca.allen@niwater.com