Field Trip to the Ballinderry Rivers Trust

The programme includes two field trips to other catchments to get a feel for activities outside of County Louth. On 16 November 2019 we visited the Ballinderry Rivers Trust on the western shores of Lough Neagh. The Ballinderry Rivers Trust has a long record of action beginning in 1984 when the Ballinderry River suffered from serious pollution. Four angling clubs came together to campaign to conserve, protect and improve the rivers and loughs of the Ballinderry River system, Lough Neagh, the Lough’s western-shore streams, and their wildlife, for the benefit of the public and the wider environment.”

Mark Horton explaining the work of the Ballinderry Rivers Trust
Mark Horton explaining the work of the Ballinderry Rivers Trust to the Louth Waters Project members
Guide to river flies
Mark gives an overview of mayflies, stoneflies and caddis flies before taking samples from the river.
Kick sampling with pond net in the Ballinderry River
Taking the samples – kick sampling with pond nets in the Ballinderry River
Examining River Macroinvertebrates
Mark shows the group some river macroinvertebrates and explains their life cycles and sensitivity to pollution.
Freshwater Pearl Mussels
The Ballinderry Rivers Trust has a breeding programme for the highly endangered protected species the Freshwater Pearl Mussel. Mark shows a mussel that was bred at the trust – approximately 15 years old.
It was a real field trip! The group visited a number of sites to see soft engineering works carried out by the Trust and local farmers to prevent river bank erosion and siltation.

The river bank above was previously badly eroded. The use of ‘soft engineering’ techniques using posts, willow and dead tree branches has allowed the bank to recover reducing the amount of silt entering the river.


The next field trip is to the East Wicklow Rivers Trust on 30 November to learn from their experiences. On 7th December we have a full day devoted to macroinvertebrate sampling and identification. Then we will have one-to-one meetings with the two project groups (North Louth and South Louth) aimed at developing suitable projects for funding.