New river bed brings life to the Lagan

Surveying the species levels at the new river bed site are Trevor Ogborn and Gary Houston of the Lagan River Trust, with Geri Wright from Phoenix Natural Gas

THE River Lagan will be brimming with life again after the creation of a new spawning bed at Gravelhill Road at the Maze, near Lisburn, has seen the first signs of species settling into their new habitat.

Phoenix Natural Gas, in partnership with the Lagan River Trust, set out to undertake a key environmental initiative to restore river life and create a new river access point to ensure the conservation of important species in the area.

And despite less than ideal water quality, in just a few months there has been a resurgence of life in the river thanks to the new bed which is a spawning bed for trout and salmon

Trevor Ogborn from the Lagan River Trust said: “This project by Phoenix Natural Gas has been invaluable to maintaining the river habitat and conserving aquatic life.

“The addition of the gravel river bed and creation of the verges along the river bank has enabled us to access this part of the river for the first time. We are now able to monitor the river bed on a monthly basis and observe species levels at this section of river.

“We look forward to seeing an increased volume of these fish as hatching season draws near. We have also seen increased species levels of mussels, shrimp, water hog louse, and baetis, commonly known as olives; all of which are vital to maintaining a healthy river habitat.”

He added: “It is hoped that as the year progresses, and with an improvement in water quality, we will see a huge increase in caddis populations as this is an important food source for fish and a key indicator of water quality. Caddis also loves this type of gravel so we hope to see a great improvement in fish population in the area this year."

Geri Wright, communications manager at Phoenix Natural Gas said: “Our company recognises its environmental responsibilities within the areas we are serving and we are delighted that our work in partnership with the Lagan River Trust has regenerated this area of the river bed.

"Not only can we now enjoy a resurgence of life in the river, but we have created access to this section which will benefit local school groups, anglers and conservationists.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Lagan River Trust and delivering other important environmental initiatives to benefit the wider community.”

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