The aim of the project is to provide a skills base for the management of protected sites in the Lough Neagh area. Because the Lough and its surrounds encompass a number of designations: EU Special Protection Area under the Wild Birds Directive, EU Special Area of Conservation under the Habitats Directive, Area of Special Scientific Interest and Ramsar Site, it requires skilled management to meet the requirements of the designations. The outputs of the project will include training and accreditation for 180 volunteers and to utilise the volunteers to carry out actual works to natural heritage sites around Lough Neagh in order to improve the natural heritage and help to bring sites into favourable condition and to raise awareness and appreciation of the natural heritage of Lough Neagh.

The activities that will be undertaken include:

  • Management of wet and species rich grassland – scrub removal.

  • Hedgerow management – laying, trimming, planting.

  • Wet woodland management – eg removal of invasive species.

  • Peatland restoration – water control, scrub removal, alien invasive species removal.

  • Rush control.

  • Animal husbandry eg care and management of rare breed livestock in conservation grazing.

  • Biological surveys – species identification, counting and habitat recording and monitoring.

  • Leading groups and delivering walks, talks and community volunteering projects.

  • Basic survival skills out of doors.

  • Construction of habitat enhancements for animals eg. nestboxes, bee hibernacula etc.