The Source to Tap forestry pilot is aimed at implementing and monitoring methods of sediment reduction in the Erne and Derg Catchments at sites where harvesting is taking place. These methods are in addition to current forestry best practice already observed by Forest Service NI and Coillte, the agencies responsible for commercial forestry management in NI and Ireland respectively.
Sediment run off increases colour, which is dissolved organic material which gives water a distinct earthy colour, and turbidity, which are tiny particles suspended in the water. This can lead to challenges during drinking water treatment and can potentially impact upon fish spawning grounds.
The focus of these trials is to test measures with the potential to either reduce the volumes of sediment escaping to nearby watercourses or to slow the flow of the receiving watercourse and allow any sediment run-off to settle out.
The results of these pilots will be communicated to forestry managers and operators. Monitoring was undertaken using Time Integrated Sediment Samplers (TISS) upstream and downstream of the mechanisms deployed. Seven mechanisms were trialled at six Forest Service (NI) sites and four Coillte sites. A control site on Coillte managed land, was also monitored during harvesting operations which had no Source to Tap intervention.