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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Lough Neagh Partnership brings new life to Coney Island

Ciara Laverty, Lough Neagh Partnership Ranger, Peter Harper, Shoreline Environment Officer, Lough Neagh Partnership, on Coney Island where a major scrub clearance project has been taking place to encourage growth of native plants.

The Lough Neagh Partnership is undertaking a project on Coney Island, just one kilometre off the Lough Neagh shoreline, in an attempt to breathe new life onto the island. The project aims to remove non-native and invasive plants including salmonberry, laurel, non-native pine and sycamore to encourage more growth of native plants.

Work is weather dependent and a chipper is being brought across to the island on a large barge and while larger branches will be kept in situ, most of the branches chipped will be used to resurface the pathway. Peter Harper, Shoreline Environment Officer, Lough Neagh Partnership, said:

“This project by Lough Neagh Partnership is vital for encouraging future native habitat to grow and flourish on Coney Island.

“Non-native plants have been dominating growth on the island and freezing everything else out for some time now but we are hopeful that if the weather stays relatively good for this time of year, apart from any forecasted storms, that we will have the site cleared and be finished before Christmas.

“We’ll just be watching then to let nature take over and get ready for the approaching nesting season. Come Springtime the island will be covered in a beautiful carpet of bluebells, wood anemone, foxglove and other native plants.

“Coney Island has a very important Heronry so it’s important to ensure that the work is completed well in advance of the nesting season which begins in February.” The scrub clearance removal on Coney Island is being managed by Lough Neagh Partnership in partnership with the National Trust and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council. This project is one of several being funded by DAERA under the EF Challenge Fund.

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