Terrestrial surveys are required for a wide variety of developments e.g. construction of new and development of existing roadways, installation of powerlines, installation of underground cables/powerlines, development of quarries and other mineral extraction exercises.
Terrestrial surveys involve the identification of habitats, the assessment of ecological value, identification of associated ecological constraints and assessment of the likely impacts on flora and fauna.
Habitats are identified according to Fossitt’s (2000) classification, which “sets out a standard scheme for identifying, describing and classifying wildlife habitats in Ireland”. Habitats are surveyed by experienced botanists and ecologists. OSI aerial photographs can also be used to aid habitat classification over wide areas. Once surveyors are familiar with a particular area, habitat units are recorded onto the photograph and indicator plant species are identified and recorded. Field notes describing the land use and target notes describing habitat type including relative species abundances are taken for each habitat. A GPS (Global Positioning System) is used to spatially record habitats and features of interest within the study area. The site, habitats and species are extensively photographed. To determine the ecological significance of the site, the ecological value of each habitat type is assessed on a scale of ranging from “no significance” to “internationally important”.
The GIS (Geographical Information System) used to generate habitat maps is MapInfo version 8. Orthorectified and scanned hard copy OS aerial photographs of the area and surrounds are imported into MapInfo along with associated GPS data. Together with the imported aerial photographs, the boundaries and other recorded features of interest are duly digitised generating habitat polygons and lines representing habitats or features of interest and boundaries, respectively.
EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS UNDERTAKEN BY AQUAFACT INCLUDE:
- Habitat and peat assessment for Sheskin Wind Farm, Mayo
- Bat surveys, Ballintubber Abbey, Mayo
- Habitat surveys and mammal assessments for Oweninny Wind Farm, Mayo
- Habitat and bat surveys for Kilrush Flood Relief Scheme
- Floral and faunal surveys, National Rehabilitation Hospital Dublin
- Habitat mapping for onshore section of Oriel wind farm cable route
- Habitat mapping for onshore section of Skerd wind farm cable route
- Habitat survey for waste water treatment plant site selection, Inishmore
- Habitat assessment for NHA dedesignation, Galway
- Habitat surveys, Clifden Aiport, Galway
- Habitat assessment for proposed football pitch, Inishmean, Galway
- Habitat survey for waste water treatment plant extension, Roscommon
- Habitat survey for residential development in SAC, Galway
- Habitat assessment for Gort Regional Water Supply Scheme, Galway
- Habitat assessment at proposed airport site on Inishbofin, Galway
- Habitat assessment at proposed airport site in Clifden, Galway
- Habitat survey for a proposed relief road, Moycullen, Galway
- Habitat assessment at 6 proposed waste water treatment plant sites in Kerry