Great News – Red Grouse numbers increase in the Owenduff/Nephin Complex SAC/Commonage

A decrease in the population of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) of 66 % for Ireland was recorded between the 1968/72 and 1988/91 Bird Atlases. The most recent data shows a continuing decline nationally. The latest studies estimate the number of red grouse in the Republic of Ireland at 4,200 birds with a further 202 pairs in Northern Ireland.  This report provides the results of a red grouse survey in the Owenduff/Nephin Complex Special Protection Area (SPA) in County Mayo. 12 x 1km squares were surveyed in 2012, a repeat of a survey that had been carried out 10 years previously.  The results indicate a population of 790 832 individual birds within the SPA, representing 3.08 3.25 birds per km² in the Owenduff/Nephin Complex SPA. This is effectively a doubling in numbers since 2002 when the population of red grouse was estimated at 362 – 426 individuals within the 25,622ha of the Owenduff/Nephin Complex, representing a population density of 1.4 1.7 birds per km².  The population expansion is also evident from the significant increase in the number of occupied squares, from 50% in 2002 (six out of 12), to 100% in the current period.  This increase in grouse numbers is attributed to management prescriptions in the intervening period.  Off-wintering of livestock from 2006 has allowed an improvement in the habitat condition within the Owenduff/Nephin SPA to the extent that in 2010, of the 76 habitat stations surveyed, 68 showed positive recovery compared to the 2005 assessment.  For full report see  IWM 77 Red grouse

Draft Consultation Paper Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

As part of the ongoing process of designing a new RDP for the period 2014-2020, the enclosed set of proposed measure outlines has been developed. These proposed outlines build on the stakeholder input received to date as well as ongoing preparatory work being undertaken within the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (in particular, the work undertaken on the SWOT analysis and Needs Assessment required under the Rural Development Regulation). The views of stakeholders are now being sought on the composition of the proposed measure outlines. It is expected that this process will also incorporate consideration of the possible delivery of certain measures at a local level.  DraftConsultation DocRDP14

Asulox Chemical Spray – Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

A temporary licence, from 1st June 2014 to 28th September 2014, for the use of Asulox has been granted for control of bracken in grassland by the Pesticide Controls Division (PCD) of the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine.

Asulox (Pesticide Control Service Product Number, PCS No. 04953 ) was granted Emergency Use from the 01/06/14 to 28/09/14 inclusive for use on Grassland (amenity & established), and Forestry. NO OTHER USES. Re restrictions, the use on grassland is for bracken control only.  The advice from the Department of Agriculture is to purchase only what you are going to use, use according to the label recommendations, and keep an accurate record of where, when and how much product was used, along with the justification for use and the amount of water used.
*N.B. See below for warning – re use of Asulox on Conservation Sites (SAC/SPA/NHA)

Bracken Control


  • Fronds must not be damaged by stock, frost (bronzed and stunted fronds) or by cutting before treatment.
  • DO NOT apply during or immediately after drought periods or in conditions of high temperature and low humidity.
  • DO NOT cut bracken for at least 4 weeks after spraying to permit movement of ASULOX to rhizome buds; preferably leave undisturbed until late autumn.
  • DO NOT admit stock for 4 weeks after treatment to avoid a) trampling of treated fronds and b) the risk of poisonous weeds such as ragwort being rendered palatable by the treatment.
  • At least 6 weeks should elapse between applying ASULOX and sowing or planting any subsequent crop.
  • DO NOT use adjuvants with ASULOX in forestry situations when over-spraying trees.


*Under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 it is a legal requirement to obtain consent from the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht prior to applying pesticides, including herbicides on Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Natural Heritage Areas (NHA).  It is a requirement of Cross Compliance that permission is sought in these cases and application without this permission is a breach of regulations and could lead to penalties and prosecution.

For further information you may contact us or call NPWS on 1800 405000.