Carrowbeg & Carrowniskey Weekend 7/8 May 2022

Saturday 7th May – Carrowbeg River, Westport & Sunday 8th May – Carrowniskey River,

Schedule for Weekend of Sat 7 May & Sun 8 May & Follow-up on Monday 9 May

Demonstration of River Survey Techniques and Accessing Data

Each Saturday and Sunday session will follow a similar programme at up to a number of different locations depending on demand from participants:

  • Morning – A river walk to demonstrate a range of survey techniques and river and catchment features relevant to water quality and functioning of rivers including flooding.
  • Afternoon – A classroom session to cover data sources relevant to the local river catchment. We will look at historical flooding and predicting water levels from rainfall data.
  • On the evening 9th May we will follow-up on Zoom with a refresher session on the weekend visits and techniques taught – with a strong emphasis on developing local projects for funding plus developing ongoing local community projects using the citizen science techniques covered during the course.

We will measure flow rate in the river in terms of tonnes of water per second flowing past a point in the river using a tape measure, a stopwatch /phone and an orange! We will show you where to look up online flow data and relate this to rainfall and flooding. Local rainfall data are also available online. We will look at the flow gauges at Coolloughra just upstream of Tonranny on the Carrowbeg River and at Creggaunboy on the Carrowniskey. In both cases the water depth data is available online. also shows the areas likely to flood plus we have local knowledge of flooding points.

We will examine bank erosion, bank reinforcements and potential blockages across the channels – weirs, fallen trees, waterfalls, debris dams.  In the case of the Carrowbeg we will also examine methods and sequencing of weir removal for improved fish migration, especially sea trout and salmon.

In the case of the Carrowniskey we will discuss the gravel bar at the river mouth. We will also talk about Roonagh Lough at the river’s end, which is part of a new LIFE Breeding Wader machair project. This site is very important site for wading water birds. Catherine Farrell of the LIFE project will talk about the site.

The upper part of both catchments may provide natural solutions to flooding in the lower parts. “Cleaning” the river is not necessarily effective and may even aggravate flooding further downstream.

We will look at the general near-river “riparian” and wider catchment land use and characteristics: urban settings, bog, pasture, deciduous trees, coniferous forest, hill slopes and how these interact with the river.

After the Saturday 7th May morning’s field work on the Carrowbeg we will adjourn to Westport Town Hall for an afternoon of showing you how to access a treasure trove of publicly available data – flow, rainfall, floodplain maps, water quality, biodiversity, etc. There is an abundance of great data available free and online for these two river catchments.

On Sunday 8th May we will also have a similar indoor session at Glenkeen Estate from approximately 13:00.

We will also discuss natural flood management in both rural and urban settings and methods of catchment rehabilitation to improve fish populations.

Meeting Locations

Carrowbeg Survey, Saturday 7th May:                      Hotel Westport car park 09.15.for 09.30

Carrowniskey Survey, Sunday 8th May:                 Glenkeen Farm car park 09.15.for 09.30