Natural resources survey of Border counties

 

A MAJOR geological survey of six Border counties to help manage natural resources has got under way in Co Donegal.

Sixteen field staff in teams of two began the survey this month. It will involve mapping and soil, sediment and water sampling from 7,000 sites in the county.

The teams will then move southwards between now and Christmas taking samples from areas in Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth.

The Co Meath-based agricultural consultancy OCAE has won contracts to deliver the soil, sediment and water sampling elements of the Tellus Border Project, an EU-funded programme.

The project is a continuation of the Tellus Project in Northern Ireland, which ran from 2004 to 2007.

As well as a ground-based geochemical survey there will be an airborne geophysical survey of the area this autumn.

An aircraft flying at 60 metres will measure properties of soil and rocks with geophysical instruments.

Data collected during both surveys will be integrated with existing data to give a cross-Border geological baseline.

David O’Connell from OCAE said he saw the project as being significant in adding to the scientific data set for the country and in creating jobs and opportunities for people from a range of disciplines, especially agriculture and environmental science.

“We will be working closely with the Geological Surveys of Ireland and Northern Ireland to ensure the programme runs as efficiently as possible without disruption to landowners.

“One of OCAE’s main strengths is our track record of successfully working on the ground with farmers and landowners, whether it is for soil sampling, nutrient-management planning, livestock or crop husbandry advice, and we hope this background will contribute to the project’s success.”

Ray Scanlon of the Geological Survey of Ireland said the samples collected would be analysed for 55 elements and compounds, providing invaluable data on the make-up of rock, soil and water.

“The sampling team will carry identification and their vehicles will be branded with the Tellus Border logo so landowners can be assured of their authenticity.”

Mr Scanlon said landowners who had any concerns or wanted to find out more about the project could contact a helpline on 1800-303516 or visit tellusborder.eu