Country Infos

Country Profile Manager:
James Moran
Atlantic Technological University
Phone: +353 86 6063949





The Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchments project aims to restore the status of a high-status objective waterbody in an agricultural catchment (River Allow, Duhallow, Co. Cork), through a collaborative locally led approach between farmers with experience of high-status bespoke conservation measures and those with none.

Location of the scheme

one region

The Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchments EIP project area is located in a catchment in predominantly rural hinterland in North West Cork with the market towns of Newmarket and Kanturk the primary urban areas. The Allow Catchment comprises of several rivers spanning from Taur in the West to Meelin in the North and Freemount in the east. The main river channels include the Allow, Owenanare and Dalua along with the tributaries Glashwee, Owenkeel and Glenlara.

All landowners on the Allow, Dalua and Owenanare rivers along with the tributaries of these rivers are eligible to apply. The catchment supports different farming activities, including very productive pasture in the lower catchment, and more marginal agriculture and forestry in the upper catchment. 

Duration of the scheme

Since: 2019
Until: 2023

Objective(s) of the scheme / project

  • Biodiversity
  • Erosion control
  • Water quality
  • Other

To achieve its goals the project will pursue the following objectives: restore and protect high status objective waterbodies in the project target area; develop and implement a three tiered locally led results based payment scheme for farmers in high status catchments; implement bespoke measures to achieve the integrated catchment management impact required through knowledge exchange between farmers with target waterbodies; develop and implement an on-farm citizen science approach with farmers; incorporate biodiversity and greenhouse gas payments within the measures; carry out catchment visioning on the importance of high status to farming community through knowledge exchange and the wider community through public engagement; inform national policy and programmes on best practice for the management of high-status waterbodies.


Which habitats or species are in the focus of the scheme / project?

  • Habitats (incl. habitats of Fauna-Flora-Habitat-Directive (FFH-D.))
  • Species (incl. species of FFH-D. and Birds Directive (BD))
  • Landscape elements
  • Forest
  • Wetland

Species Rich Grassland, HNV Habitats, Riparian/Alluvial Woodlands, CSA, Instream Woody Habitats, Riparian Margins/Zones, Semi-Natural Grasslands

Macroinvertebrates, Freshwater Pearl Mussel, Salmon, Trout, Lamprey

The Allow river catchment is of high conservation value and supports a wide variety of rare and protected habitats and wildlife. In recognition of this it has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation for the protection of otter, freshwater pearl mussel, lamprey, salmon and other important fish species. The protection of high ecological status water bodies, as defined by the Water Framework Directive (WFD), is a national priority in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021 (RBMP). Agriculture is a significant pressure impacting on high-status waterbodies and measures required go beyond those currently available under current Agri-environment protection programmes.

Which indicators are used?

  • Habitats (incl FFH and BD)
  • Species (incl FFH and BD)
  • Landscape Elements

Farm specific management plans will be developed in close association with the farmer, including measures designed to improve water quality, enhance biodiversity and reduce GHGs. Measures will be based on the source-pathway-receptor model, reducing contaminants at source, intercepting them before reaching the river and restoring impacted habitats. A results-based payment system will reward participating farmers for improving habitat quality and maintaining the nature value of their farms.

By which fund(s) is the scheme / project implemented?

  • Other measures of Rural Development

Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 for Operational Groups (in the sense of Art 56 of Reg.1305/2013)

How are the incentives (payment levels) calculated?

  • Other

Farms were surveyed with qualifying features recorded such as existing habitats and possible measures to be implemented to protect, enhance or improve water quality, GHG emissions mitigation and/or Biodiversity. A proposed payment was calculated for each applicant. A follow survey was conducted with each measure scored from 1-10. Payment was issued based on a percentage score of the original proposed payment.

Is there a top up in case of reaching the goals?

  • Yes

The project aims to issue a bonus payment based on a scorecard with the following parameters recorded and scored:

Quality of the Riparian Margin/Zone

Level of siltation in the watercourse

Water Quality parameters including Nitrate, Ammonia, Turbidity, Alkalinity

Macroinvertebrate Survey

Biodiversity Benefits – Biotic or Abiotic


How many hectares are in the scheme?

  • 2.001 – 5.000

How many farmers take part in the scheme?

  • 50 – 100

How are participating farmers supervised/advised?

  • Advisors visits (obligatory)
  • Advice by telephone
  • Information documents (pamphlets, reports, etc.)
  • Website
  • Information meetings/workshops (obligatory)
  • Information meetings/workshops (voluntary)

Are there any evaluation results?

  • In preparation

Contact person

Maura Walsh

IRD Duhallow, James O'Keefe Institute, Newmarket, Co. Cork