3.9. Other water dependent habitats.
Vegetated sea cliffs of the Atlantic and Baltic coasts (1230) occur throughout the coast, with rocky cliffs mainly in the west and south-west, and soft cliffs mainly on the east and south-east coasts. This habitat occurs in a total of 48 SACs, and as a qualifying interest in 28, most of which are rocky cliffs with important sea bird breeding colonies. Soft cliffs are vulnerable to erosion by the sea, erosion rates can be increased by coastal protection works on site and at a distance. Recreational uses are also cited as pressures. Development near cliff tops could result in increased/enriched water seepage down the cliff face. The overall conservation status assessment is unfavourable-inadequate.
This habitat has been considered separately from coastal transitional and onshore habitats because it differs from the more mobile soft shores of salt marsh, sand dune and machair, and is not exposed to the same type of land use pressures.
Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae) (6410) occur in 46 SACs and are present as a qualifying interest in 14 of them. This habitat is widespread but localised, and is associated with a fluctuating water table, often with seasonal flooding, and generally but not exclusively on acid soils. It often occurs as a mosaic with fen meadow. It is vulnerable to drainage and agricultural improvement, but also to abandonment of farmland and scrub encroachment. The overall conservation status assessment is unfavourable-bad.
3.9.1. Other water dependent species.
Killarney Fern Trichomanes speciosum
Killarney Fern Trichomanes speciosum is extremely sensitive to desiccation, and is not adapted to control water loss. It is confined to deeply shaded, humid habits near cascades and waterfalls in dripping caves, in cliff crevices, in vertical wooded ravines, and occasionally on the floor of damp woodland. It occurs in its sporophyte form as a Qualifying Interest in 18 SACs. It also occurs in its gametophyte form in a number of additional SACs, for which it is not a qualifying interest. The species also occurs in some pNHAs. A total of 67 populations is known, precise locational data are not published because of the history of loss of this species to plant collectors; any queries should be addressed directly to NPWS. The species is vulnerable to hydrological pressures and water pollution, as well as to direct habitat disturbance. The conservation status of Killarney Fern Trichomanes speciosum is assessed as favourable.
4. WATER DEPENDENT HABITATS AND SPECIES: SPATIAL DATA.
Much of the spatial habitat and species data held by NPWS is in transition between paper copy and GIS, with a number of projects on individual or groups of water dependent habitats and species in progress. Because of this, there is still a lack of detailed GIS spatial data on the occurrence of water dependent habitats and species, both inside the SAC network and other in other conservation designations, and in the wider countryside. It is not possible to indicate likely release dates for individual GIS databases; but habitat data will generally be released as polygons. Point locations for some habitats may be released as interim databases pending detailed survey to define habitat boundaries and associated polygons, for example turloughs and fens (see below).
Webservices are being further developed by NPWS, through which GIS data are released. Currently designated site boundaries (SAC, SPA, NHA and pNHA) are available as GIS downloads from www.npws.ie . Updates are notified regularly by NPWS, and are available in downloadable GIS files. To subscribe to the NPWS data mailing list, contact NPWS_GIS@environ.ie or email@example.com
Site synopses, which describe the habitats and species of conservation interest in individual SACs, SPAs and NHAs are also available on the NPWS website.
Currently designated site boundaries (SAC, SPA, NHA and pNHA) and some species data (protected and nationally rare species) are available through an online map viewer (www.npws.ie/en/Maps&Data ). Habitat spatial data are not available online currently.
A consolidated turlough database including previously known and newly identified turlough sites has been compiled, and is currently available as a draft database from NPWS on request. A consultation version will be available on the GSI website in the near future. It should be noted that the database provides point locations within turlough basins, and that individual turlough basins vary substantially in size. EPA mapped lake water bodies (sometimes more than one) occurring within turlough basins as permanent (though varying in size) and/or as seasonal lakes, are cross-referenced in the turlough database by SEG_CD code. NPWS holds some mapped polygons for turloughs.
Indicative habitat mapping (as pdf files) is available at www.npws.ie for those SACs and SPAs for which Conservation Plans have been prepared (see Appendix 6 for a list). National distribution maps on a 10km square basis are available for Annex 1 listed habitats and Annex 2 listed species, at: http://www.npws.ie/en/PublicationsLiterature/HabitatsDirectivereport07/Habitats/
NPWS will maintain and distribute species location and designated site boundary data through the website map viewer. In addition species datasets will be lodged with NBDC and be available through their map-viewer www.biodiversityireland.ie
Species location and habitat data (boundary or point) for ‘water dependent’ species and habitats will be lodged with the EPA and (subject to EPA agreement) made available as layers through ENVision. In addition the information can be made available to WISE map viewer (EEA) and SEIS (EEA) when they come online.
Second tier ‘Shadow lists’ of water dependent habitats and species will be developed and maintained, and will include rare and protected habitats and species listed on National Legislation (Wildlife Act, 1976, and its numerous regulations and orders [e.g. SI 112/1990; 282/1980]; Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000; Whale Fisheries Act 1937 and extensions [158/1937; 240/1982]) and national/regional IUCN red lists.
Habitat data is currently only available by lodging a data request with NPWS, however NPWS owned datasets will be made available, with relevant metadata and quality rating information, on the online map viewer as soon as possible.
Staff resources in NPWS, in the biodiversity informatics and GIS areas, are very limited and will not be able to circulate static datasets such as that provided with this report. Users should access the available online ‘live’ systems to ensure they are using the most current datasets.