Minister Creed has stated that a consultant for the Hen Harrier Conservation Scheme is to be appointed within the next few weeks. The Hen Harrier Conservation Scheme is an incredibly anticipated project that will contribute to the protection of Irish Hen Harriers on our island.
The Hen Harrier Conservation project will be targeting areas which contain about 45% of the national Hen Harrier population. Minister Creed hopes to involve over 2,000 participants in these areas across Ireland.
The new consultant will draw up the terms and conditions for the brand new €35 million scheme. The funds will be used to carry out management of Hen Harrier habitats and enhance the protection of the endangered bird of prey species in Ireland. Hen Harrier populations in Ireland are currently thought to be between 108-157 breeding pairs.
Minister Creed spoke at the recent ICSA AGM where he encouraged farming communities and farming-orientated organisations to become involved with this scheme to help with its success. Minister Creed commented at the AGM:
“We’re gone out to tender on a consultant to design a locally-led scheme for the hen harrier so we will have a consultant appointed relatively soon. We hope the scheme will open in 2017 so that would mean payments realistically would be in 2018.
What we would like to see happening is that once a consultant is appointed that the farm organisations who have an interest in this area, and some have more than others, that they would work with the consultants so that the scheme has the appropriate input and ownership from landowners themselves who will know what will work and won’t work in their areas.”
The Hen Harrier Conservation Scheme and the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Scheme are both part of a new locally led initiative under the Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 and delivered through the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) framework. This aims to encourage local communities and farmers to become involved in the design of agri-environment type schemes and collaborate with researchers, organisations like EPA and government departments such as DAFM.