The Clonmany community gathered in the Clonmany Community Centre to discuss floods and flood management for the village and surrounding area last week.
The evening started off with a short introduction to the Inishowen Rivers Trust by Project Officer, Trish Murphy.
This included a brief look at how and why the Trust has become involved in looking into Nature Based Solutions (NBS) - natural ways of managing floods - and the co-benefits of using this type of approach.
Adapting to our new normal, the speaker for the evening Prof Mary Bourke from Trinity College, gave her presentation online via Zoom.
Joining in also by Zoom was Dr. Paul Quinn from University of Newcastle who has extensive experience of implementing NBS in the UK.
During her presentation Prof. Bourke discussed reasons why NBSs are viable options for Clonmany. NBSs are cheaper to install and more flexible in the face of a changing climate and the increased likelihood of flooding for the future.
No flood relief scheme is planned for Clonmany and this makes a community based solution even more important.
The presentation went on to discuss the scoping study funded by the OPW and carried out by Prof. Bourke and her team looking at the suitability of the land in Inishowen, including a closer look at the Ballyhallan River.
Looking at land cover use and slope, her team concluded that the area has widespread opportunities for these measures but that the approach should be at a catchment scale.
Following the presentation there was a frank and open discussion on the issues faced by the community including landowners from the top and the bottom of the catchment dealing with localised flooding on a frequent basis including overgrown banks, build up of sediment and silt, blocked drain and shoughs and eroding banks.
Residents and business premises within the village also suffer the damaging effects with reduced assess to facilities, blocked roads and damage to personal property.
Dr. Paul Quinn fielded many questions on dredging, how leaky dams work and understanding the needs of the community.
The wide range of views expressed led to an excellent discussion on the possibility of a co-ordinated approach.
Project Officer Trish Murphy summarised: “Coming together as a community and combining our knowledge and experience of the issues with the scientific knowledge can bring about a sea change in how we approach this problem.
"Working in isolation to sort a problem section of the river can lead to problems for others up or down stream. We can approach this problem in a co-design and co-production capacity.
“The Inishowen Rivers Trust are willing to co-ordinate efforts to secure funding and consultants to design nature based solutions in collaboration with the community.
"We can then train the local community on how to implement these, building knowledge on how the rivers work and how we can adapt to make them to be more resilient.”
Details can be found on the Trust website.
Any further comments and information can be forwarded to the Trust. Contacts details can also be found on the Trust website. www.inishowenriverstrust.com.
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