With the introduction of the ban on drift net fishing at sea for salmon and the prohibiting of angling for salmon on the River Liffey until such time as salmon stocks reach their conservation limit (4000), the Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association considered the time was opportune to undertake a major habitat enhancement programme on the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace. The programme of work was drawn up and supervised by The Eastern Regional Fisheries Board (Martin Kelly and Fergal Caffrey with advice from Dr. Martin O’Grady Central Fisheries Board) and took place during the month of September 2007. The enhancement programme consisted of raking the existing gravel bed of the Liffey to rid it of settled out solids and loosen the gravel in order to make it more conducive to salmon spawning (redd/nest making). Because the Liffey is harnessed by the ESB at Poulaphouca and Golden Falls upstream of Ballymore Eustace, gravels that are normally washed downstream from the upper reaches do not make it to Ballymore and so it was necessary to import trailer loads of gravel into the Liffey to replace what was washed away over the years. Boulders were introduced into the River to act as holding or resting stations for both salmon and trout and holding pools (deep pools) were also being introduced. The boulders will submerge further as flood waters scour the gravel bed around them. Many dead and fallen trees were removed from the River and the reaction of the public to the enhancement work was very favourable.
The Himac was operated by Roger Smith and the tractor and trailer for transporting the gravel and boulders was driven by Ned Walsh.
The Association wishes to thank the following for allowing the machinery access to the River through their property:- Elizabeth and Peter Pearse (Driver’s Ford), James and Matt Purcell (The Strand and Inch), Ballymore Eustace Handball Club (Car Park), Ballymore Eustace Community Development Association (CDA) (Riverside Walk), Larry Glancy (The Strand), Kildare County Council Water Services (Sewage Plant Yard), Pat Lawlor (Purcell’s Inch), Paddy Nolan (Doran’s Park), Gary and Roisin Murphy Mountcashel (Kane’s Ford, Inch na Cailin and Marl Hole Car Ford), Kevin Keenan (Kane’s Ford), Johnny Murphy Coughlanstown (Ferny Inch) and Tim Ronaldson. Also, thanks to the ESB for facilitating us with low water in the Liffey during working hours despite the fact that Poulaphouca Reservoir was chock-a-block with water after the wet summer.
The habitat enhancement work cost €14000 and was funded by Dublin City Council Engineering Department and Kildare County Council Heritage Department to whom we are very grateful. (The Liffey Valley Meander Belt i.e. Skaw Banks, is designated a Natural Heritage Area)
Hopefully all will be rewarded by the sight of salmon spawning in these areas in the years to come.
The Association also appreciates similar enhancement work undertaken by Sean Mulryan under the supervision of Peter Lynch with advice from the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board where his land borders the Liffey at the Ferny Inch and Ardenode/Coughlanstown.