Ecology is the study of the links between all living things (incl. humans) and their environment. In Ireland, we have strict legislation to ensure that our plans and projects do not cause unnecessary ecological damage. Envirico are one of Ireland’s leading Ecological Consultancies, offering our clients surveys and advice to make sure they stay within the law and their project can go ahead in a cost-effective manner, without delay.
Our clients’ requirements are diverse, and include surveys of winter birds, breeding populations (CBS), hen harriers, flight path & collision risk, red grouse (tape lure), nesting birds. Envirico are also known for our ability to tackle logistically difficult projects such as population counts of breeding puffins and shearwaters on the Blasket Islands.
All bat species and their roosts are protected in Ireland under the Wildlife Acts and the EU Habitats Directive. Our clients need to ensure that their project or build will not have a negative impact on the bat population. Surveys include presence/absence surveys, emergence surveys, night-time activity surveys, tree-roost surveys. We can also set up mitigation measures and carry out bat exclusion to allow your project to continue in accordance with the Bat Mitigation Guidelines for Ireland.
Many habitat types are protected in Ireland and under EU legislation (Annex I Habitats). Habitat surveys are required for a number of reasons. Local Authorities need to know what habitats are present in their areas for Local Area Plans and to aid planning decisions, Community Groups who know their local habitats can protect and enjoy their valuable areas, and any development will need to ensure that has factored in protected habitats to avoid running into unnecessary difficulties and delays.
RHAT (River Hydromorphology Assessment Technique) Surveys are a rapid assessment technique used to assess a river’s departure from naturalness. Results from the survey are related to the categories of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC): High, good, moderate, poor, and bad. Rivers are assessed on Channel morphology and flow types; Channel vegetation; Substrate diversity and condition; Barriers to continuity; Bank structure and stability; Bank and bank top vegetation; Riparian land cover; Floodplain interaction.
Across the European Union there is a network of protected sites of particular ecological importance known as the Natura 2000 Network. In Ireland, we have two type of Natura 2000 sites, Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs). Before any plan or project can go ahead, it must be evaluated as to whether it may have an impact on a Natura 2000 site. This process is known as Appropriate Assessment (AA). The first stage is a screening process, where the likelihood of impact is assessed. If the project may have an impact, then a Nature Impact Statement (NIS) must be completed. Envirico have extensive experience drafting AA Screenings and NIS across a wide range of industries including construction, forestry and agriculture, and for State Agencies.
Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEAs) are a very useful means of finding out what ecological issues are likely to arise during a project. This helps to ensure that ecology is factored in at the design/planning stage and there are no delays or additional costs further down the line. A PEA will assess all ecological aspects such as habitats, protected species (animal & plant), hydrological connections, and possible impacts of the construction/plan itself. The PEA will recommend further surveys where required. The work done in a PEA can be used to inform an Ecological Impact Assessment Report (EcIAR), which is a detailed study of the likely and potential ecological impacts of a project. The EcIAR will include all further surveys that were deemed necessary by the PEA and will detail all mitigation measures that will be required.
Envirico carry out water quality assessments of Irish waterbodies using a range of different techniques including the EPA Quality Rating System (Q-Values); the Small Stream Impact Score; the Biological Monitoring Working Party (BMWP). These assessments are used to ensure compliance with Discharge Licencing Requirements and to inform mitigation measures for various projects including river restoration works, flood defence projects, habitat improvement works, and in-stream construction.
Envirico have undertaken Scientific Research on behalf of Irish State bodies into the Status of Ireland’s Breeding Sea Birds (O’Connor et al., 2019), Invertebrate Populations & the Impact of Fires in Killarney National Park. We specialise in undertaking logistically difficult projects and collaborating with the foremost experts in the relevant field to ensure that our clients are delivered robust data that has been investigated with the most current statistical techniques, presented in a comprehensive and well-written analysis.
We can produce high-quality Feasibility Studies, large-scale Management Plans for towns/regions, Action Plans for Local Authorities, Biodiversity Action Plans for Community Groups and more. We have recently produced species profiles for the Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern on behalf of the National Biodiversity Data Centre that can be viewed here