The Ballinderry Rivers Trust has been awarded £94,000 by Department of the Environment to save the river’s endangered fresh water pearl mussels from extinction.
Delighted to be awarded the funding for the 2016-17 period, Trust manager Mark Horton said: “The Ballinderry River is one of only six in Northern Ireland to still hold freshwater pearl mussel.
“The mussel is a benchmark species requiring high water quality and habitat standards in order to survive. By undertaking this project we will be improving the river for all species as a result.”
Friends of the Earth have previously voiced concerns about the rare species’ future in the Owenkillew river near the site of a proposed goldmine in county Tyrone.
This money will enable the Ballinderry Rivers Trust to maintain its freshwater pearl mussel conservation programme through its new Pearl Mussels Go Wild project and develop a protected area conservation plan for the Upper Ballinderry River Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
The funding is part of the Environment Fund managed by DOE which has been made available to eligible organisations to protect and improve our habitats, the quality of our air and water, and access to the natural environment.
Announcing the award, Mark H Durkan said: “This is good news for people living in this area. The work that Ballinderry Rivers Trust undertakes benefits the whole community as having this species thrive not only improves water quality but improve the biodiversity value of the river, bringing wider environmental, social and economic benefits.”
Ballinderry Rivers Trust is committed to the conservation, protection and enjoyment of the Ballinderry River, the rivers and streams that flow into the western shore of Lough Neagh and Lough Neagh itself.