The Biodiversity Team for the Monaghan Town Greenway put together a plan for protecting biodiversity during the construction phase and for managing it after completion.
Initially, the focus will be on recording what is there at present, to establish a baseline. This will make it possible to track the impact that various measures have when introduced. It will also identify areas which are particularly species-rich and species-poor. These can then be planned for accordingly.
The long term goal is to develop the land along the canal into a continuous linear habitat which is species rich and which offers a diverse range of habitats, supporting a wide variety of plants, animals, insects, fish and birds. Due to its link via the Blackwater river system to the Special Conservation Area of Sliabh Beagh, the canal corridor offers an important route for the movement of wildlife around the north of the county, and linking in to the Dromore river system to the west of Monaghan town.
In addition to being an important biodiversity site, because the site is located literally in Monaghan town, it provides an outstanding opportunity to engage with the public and promote awareness of the importance of biodiversity. The Steering Committee has devised a Biodiversity Trail which will provide information on both the habitats and their inhabitants, and the measures which have been taken to construct and manage the habitats. It is hoped that this will encourage others to make changes to how they manage the land in their control – even if that’s just a tiny garden – to make more room for biodiversity.
The trail is supported by a website, www.monaghantownbiodiversity.com, which is linked to the various information points along the route by QR codes, enabling the viewer to access additional information via their smartphone. Outdoor classrooms at either end of the Greenway enable local schools to take students out into the field to explore the subject in a thorough and engaging manner.
The Development Plan identifies the potential that each Section of the greenway offers for development. The three year Management Plan lays out how the various development and maintenance tasks will be achieved and how they fit into the longer term goal of creating a best practice biodiversity project.
You can read the full Development & Management Plan here.