Ireland’s largest building and engineering contractor, John Sisk & Son in partnership with Green Restoration Ireland (GRI) and a local farmer have begun the rewetting of 50 acres of bog at Lackaduff, Doocastle, Co. Mayo.
Ireland is home to 50% of the last remaining raised bogs in Western Europe. As a direct consequence of this bog rewetting project, 36,000 tonnes of carbon will be permanently locked into the Lackaduff bog and 20-30 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided annually. A team of Sisk volunteers are donning the wellies to start the process of re-blocking the drains and bringing life back to the bog.
These local bogs feed into a tributary of the Owengarve, part of the Moy River. Emissions of Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) in Lackaduff currently range from 1.4 to 2.14 tonnes per year. This will be reduced by 90% as a result of the work carried out by Sisk and its partners.
Of the 20 hectares of raised bog at Lackaduff approximately 8.24 is impacted by the drainage ditches and an estimated 11 kilometres of drains need to be blocked for the full restoration works to be completed. Ongoing monitoring by GRI will confirm the long-term ecological success of this work.
Rare wildlife in East Mayo will also benefit as a result of the bog rewetting including, the red-listed bird species of skylark, meadow pipit, snipe, curlew as well as the Irish hare.
Sisk has a long history of construction projects in Mayo such as the original Allergan Factory in Westport, the Coca Cola plant in Ballina, and other big names like Hollister and Baxter. In 2020 Sisk launched its 2030 Sustainability Roadmap – Building today, Caring for tomorrow – and this is just one of the 21 targets the construction company has committed to.
GRI is helping landowners to set a positive precedent and take action to restore their bogs while generating new income streams including through the creation of carbon credits in the long run. GRI’s goal is to achieve equitable, innovative and science-based solutions to the restoration of peatlands for farmers and landowners.
Tommy McGovern, Lackaduff farmer said: “We have a lot of peatlands in Ireland and a solution here for locking the carbon into our bogs, as a means to help with this. This is the future, make the bogs work to fix the climate crisis and with help from the likes of GRI and Sisk we will.”
Alan Cawley, Sustainability Manager, Sisk, said: “John Sisk & Son is delighted to partner with GRI in the rehabilitation of peat bogs. This initiative is built upon the ambitious UN Sustainable Development Goal targets that we set out in our 2030 Sustainability Roadmap. This event is also an opportunity for our staff to volunteer and support local land-owners.”
Doug McMillian, GRI said: “We are delighted that Sisk has come on board to support GRI with our bog restoration work in Co. Mayo. There are so many degraded peatlands which have been abandoned that are just crying out to be restored. There’s so much work to be getting on with that there’s no time to lose if we’re to turn things around.”