National Id
Site name
River Erkina floodplain
This site was one of nine included in the LIFE05 project to restore priority woodland habitats in Ireland. The Durrow site is located on the floodplain of the river Erkina, and had been affected by planting of non-native conifers and associated drainage. A network of shallow drainage ditches covered the entire site, and was found to be adversely affecting the native alluvial woodland by reducing retention time of floodwaters on the floodplain. To counter this, a total of 350 dams were installed on ditches across the site.
Light or indepth?
Location description
The site is located on the floodplain of the River Erkina, which is a tributary of the River Nore, in southeast Ireland.
Southern and Eastern
RBD code
NWRM(s) implemented in the case study
Climate zone
cool temperate moist
Mean annual rainfall
900 - 1200 mm
Mean rainfall
Mean rainfall unit
Average temperature
Case Study Info
Average slope range
Vegetation class
Alluvial woodland
Monitoring impacts effects
Monitoring location
Edge of Field/Plot
Monitoring parameters
Water level monitoring in dipwells. Vegetation monitoring by quadrat surveys. No monitoring in adjacent river.
Performance impact estimation method
Edge of Field/Plot
Performance impact estimation information
Dipwells were installed at the start of the project, which were used to inform the requirements for measures, as a result of which coffer dams were installed on ditches. Dipwell monitoring was continued after installation.
Application scale
Field Scale
Installation date
Performance timescale
1 - 4 years
Area (ha)
Area subject to Land use change or Management/Practice change (ha)
Design capacity description
The measures are designed to hold back water and increase water levels in the alluvial woodland, increasing retention time on the floodplain. There is no specific design capacity.
Basis of design
The measures are not designed for a specific storm event. They are designed to restore the alluvial woodland habitat by holding water on the floodplain for longer
Providing the desire/intention is to restore habitat upstream and there are no areas local to the drainage that should not be put at risk of higher water levels, there are no constraints to this type of measure
Favourable preconditions
These measures could be applied anywhere that woodland or other habitat has been drained, although the details of the approach will vary depending on the soil type (in this case, alluvial deposits)
Management change from
Drained forestry
Management change to
Undrained, restored alluvial woodland
Design contractual arrangement
Arrangement type Responsibility Role Comments Name
Design consultation activity
Activity stage Key issues Name Comments
Implementation phase
Interpretation boards
Two interpretation boards at Durrow
Screening phase
Project website
Set up at project commencement and updated through the project and with final deliverables
Implementation phase
Production of project brochures
Introductory brochure produced early in the project, with a final results brochure on completion. Hard copies printed for dissemination locally and internationally
Implementation phase
Annual 'woodland walk'
Held annual during the project duration at three demonstration sites (although Durrow was not one of them)
Screening phase
Public consultation meetings
In total eight events in year 1, 20 in year 2, 14 in year 3 and seven in year 4
Implementation phase
End of project conference
Design land use change
Land use change type
Broad-leaved forest
Design authority
Authority type Role Responsibility Name Comments
Forest owners
Coillte Teoranta [The Irish Forestry Board]
Coillte is the commercial company responsible for Irish forestry. They were responsible for the initiation and implementation of this project, based on improvements they wished to make to forests on their own land.
Key lessons
Main lessons taken from this site (and the project as a whole included):
- The value of pre-implementation monitoring, to inform the most appropriate actions to take
- The value of public engagement, to ensure they understand and approve of the measures
Success factor(s)
Success factor type Success factor role Comments
Financing possibilities
main factor

Half of the funds for the project were obtained from the EU-LIFE programme, with Coillte committing the remainder

Communication activities
secondary factor

Extensive communication activities were carried out throughout the project, to ensure public understanding and agreement

Attitude of relevant stakeholders
main factor
Financing type Comments
EU-funds: LIFE+
Half funded by EU-LIFE05
Private funds
Remainder funded by Coillte
Barrier type Barrier role Comments
In this case no specific barriers were identified, and the measures were successfully implemented
Driver type Driver role Comments
Organisation committed to it
main driver
The project took place as a result of Coillte's commitment to restoring priority habitats
Financing share
Financing share type Share Comments
European funds
Private funds
Policy description
The main driver for the work was deterioration of priority habitat, due to planting of non-native conifers and drainage. The drainage meant that floodwaters were not being retained on the floodplain.
Part of wider plan
Policy target
Target purpose
Improved Biodiversity
Policy pressure
Pressure directive Relevant pressure
Policy area
Policy area type Policy area focus Name Comments
Policy impact
Impact directive Relevant impact
Policy wider plan
Wider plan type Wider plan focus Name Comments
LIFE project LIFE05 NAT/IRL/000182
The title of the LIFE project was "Restoring priority woodland habitats in Ireland". It covered 9 sites, with the NWRM installations at one site (Durrow)
Policy requirement directive
Requirement directive Specification
Costs investment information
The total project cost was 2.3 million euros, which was spread across 9 sites. No information has been obtained about the distribution between sites or the costs specifically attributable to the relevant hydrological measures
Costs operation maintenance
Ongoing monitoring and maintenance was planned in an "After LIFE Conservation Plan"
Compensations annual information
No compensation was required, as Coillte were the owners of the site
Ecosystem improved biodiversity
Information on Ecosystem improved biodiversity
Along with other measures in the project (removing non-native species), damming the ditches will allow the alluvial woodland habitat to be restored
Ecosystem impact climate regulation
No specific impact