Vertigo / Fen

At a site near Clonaslee, Co. Laois the rare snail Vertigo geyeri was recorded from the fen area at this site. This species is a glacial relic with a disjunct (fragmented) European population, which is considered vulnerable due to loss of habitat, particularly through drainage. It is listed on Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive.

Our Agri-environment plan objectives focused on maintaining the natural wetness of the fen which is fed by esker springs by keeping the water table at a sufficiently high level. Local and arterial drainage impact adversely on this requirement, especially in sites of small area. A programme of re-instating water levels is put in place by manipulating the drainage and the installation of dams intermittently along main water outflows. Scrub encroachment is also an issue with the tendency of drying out exacerbating this problem. The management will be primarily by grazing with large herbivores, bovines and equines. Some mechanical scrub removal will also be required to enable livestock grazing full access throughout the site.