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SAC No. 2916 Total area of the SAC = 455 ha, Project site area = 27.1 ha
The site is also a proposed Natural Heritage Area – Lisnageeragh Bog and Ballinastack Turlough (Site Code 296).
Lisnageeragh bog and Ballinastack Turlough is a large site located in the east of Co. Galway. The site is dominated by raised bog habitat of varying composition and quality with turlough habitat, located in the north-western corner of the site, accounting for approximately 6% of the site area. There are approximately 280 hectares of uncut high bog within the site, which is one of the largest areas in East Galway (Derwin et al., 2002). The vegetation of the high bog areas is generally dominated by the typical species of raised bog such as ling (Calluna vulgaris), single-flowered bog cotton (Eriophorum vaginatum), deergrass (Trichophorum cespitosum), cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) and bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum). There are a number of flushes on the high bog surface dominated by purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) and although some of these are the product of artificial drainage they add to the habitat diversity of the site. In the wetter areas of the site there are quaking flats and pool complexes.
The pool areas support species more characteristic of wet, undisturbed bog such as white-beaked sedge (Rhynchospora alba), long-leaved sundew (Drosera anglica), bog bean (Menyanthes trifoliata) the moss Sphagnum cuspidatum and the rather rare semi-aquatic species brown-beaked sedge (Rhynchospora fusca).
Significant areas of forestry plantation occur along the margins of the high bog dome and the removal of these areas and the subsequent rehabilitation of the bog habitat is the main aim of this project proposal. The project area occurs as two separate blocks, one of which is dominated by tall coniferous forestry, the other being dominated by old cutover surface with a small area of young plantation also present.
Importance of the site for the conservation of the species/habitat types targeted at regional, national and EU level (give quantifiable information wherever possible):
Lisnageeragh Bog and Ballinastack turlough contains good examples of Annex 1 habitats such as Active raised bog, Degraded raised bog (capable of regeneration), Vegetation of depressions (Rhynchosporion) and Turlough. Active raised bog and Turlough are both priority habitats for conservation. The habitat assessment presented in the Natura 2000 form compiled for the site gives a global rating of B (good value) for active raised bog habitat. Raised bog habitats are now very rare in Europe and it has recently been estimated that the Republic of Ireland contains 50% of the relatively intact oceanic raised bog systems in Europe (O’ Connell, 1998).
This site is one of a cluster of raised bog sites in the Glenamaddy area of East Galway and together these bogs form perhaps the most important concentration of relatively intact raised bog sites in the country. The presence of a small turlough system in association with raised bog is of particular ecological interest and this increases the overall ecological value of the site.