Irish Rural Link Led Consortium Awarded Breeding Waders EIP

Mar 7, 2024 | EIP-AGRI, Green Architecture, Innovation

A consortium led by Irish Rural Link has been successful in their application to become the Operational Group that delivers the upcoming €25 million European Innovation Partnership (EIP) project on Breeding Waders. This followed an open call for proposals in December 2023. The successful application was submitted by Irish Rural Link in partnership with Michael Martyn Agri-Environment, Irish Wildlife Services, Hen Harrier Project, Atlantic Technological University, University College Dublin, Zoological Society of Ireland and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

The main objectives of the EIP is to secure declining wader populations at key sites across Ireland, and to support population recovery via wider landscape management and policy development. From the overall budget of €25 million, €7.5 million will be allocated directly to farmers for actions on their land.

Waders are some of the most threatened of all Irish breeding birds. They represent six of the eight species that regularly appear on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland. The six species are Curlew, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Redshank and Snipe. The last forty years have seen a 50% decline in 5 of these species. Even more worryingly, Curlew and Lapwing have experienced a population decline of over 90% in the last twenty years. They are now considered to be approaching globally threatened status by BirdLife International.

Following the announcement, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pippa Hackett, said “I am delighted to announce, together with my colleague Minister Malcolm Noonan, that the Irish Rural Link consortium has been selected to implement the EIP Breeding Wader project. The central concept of this EIP initiative is to work with farmers and other stakeholders to put innovative solutions into practice. It’s wonderful to see such a broad range of stakeholders coming together to work on this incredibly important project, and I wish them every success with their work.

Minister Hackett then went on to say “I would like to congratulate the Irish Rural Link consortium on their successful application and welcome the wealth of expertise that the group brings to the project. Our breeding waders such as Curlew, Lapwing and Snipe are of serious conservation concern, and require a significant response, which this project can deliver.

The NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service) has invested €17.5 million in this initiative, making this Breeding Waders EIP one of the largest EIP Projects to have ever been created in Ireland. The NPWS will also provide support to the operational group during the implementation phase of the project and will fund additional measures to support necessary conservation work.

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