Implementation of Water Framework Directive for Canals

Project information

Index: 0709R2
Priority:2: Environment and risk prevention
Sub Theme:Water management
Location IRELAND IRELAND Dublin,Meath,Westmeath,Longford,Kildare,Offaly,Tipperary,Carlow,Kilkenny,Leitrim (NUTS2 Border,Midland and Western & Southern and Eastern) Border, Midland and Western Start/End date of the practice
Start: 01.01.2005.

Topic of the practice

Implementation of a monitoring programme and development of a canal classification tool to assess the Ecological Potential of Canals as required under the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Adherence to EU Legislation

Good Practice Information

The main objectives of this practice are the development of a Water Framework Directive (WFD) Monitoring Programme for Canals & the development of management strategies & mitigation measures to ensure the Canals meet Good Ecological Potential.Waterways Ireland is the competent authority with responsibility for ensuring the canals in Ireland are compliant to the Directive & for reporting on their ecological status to the Environmental Protection Agency which reports to the EU. To this end, the organisation has implemented a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme for the canals. This programme consists of 40 monitoring sites throughout the canals across 4 River Basin Districts & includes seasonal sampling of ecological quality elements including: general physio-chemical parameters; benthic invertebrate fauna or macrophytes. The cooperation is ongoin with state bodies in implementing this monitoring programme & in disseminating environmental data from it to the public.
The scheduled monitoring work for the canals in 2011, which is funded by Waterways Ireland, amounts to €115,700. Bodies and Stakeholders involved (e.g.:Inland Fisheries Ireland;Uinited Kingdom Technical Advisory Group,Northern Ireland Environment Agency). Beneficiaries include boaters, angling groups, recreational users, the general public.This practice is transferable to all EU countries with canals that must meet the objectives of the Water Framework Direcitve. The lessons learnt are also transferable : cooperation by government agencies is essential in the implementation of the Directive; cooperative research is necessary to solve common problems; this work has given new insights into the ecological value of canals, into enhancing maintenance practices to meet the objectives; & into the variety of ecosystems in canals in different countries.

Evidence of success

This practice is considered good because it helps to fulfil the requirement of the Water Framework Directive. Data collected from the monitoring programme in conjunction with results of the classification tool are being used to target specific changes in management practices, where required to ensure compliance with the Directive's objectives. The major impact indicator for this practice is the length of canal determined to be at Good Ecological Potential.Overall water quality in the Canals in Ireland is good and commensurate with their use as multi-purpose amenity resources. The majority of Waterways Ireland’s canals (over 85 %) have been determined to be at Good Ecological Potential under the Water Framework Directive.

Contact details to obtain further information on the practice

Paula Treacy

Waterways Ireland

Annex completed on: 03-25-2011

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