Lough Melvin (SAC)
Lough Melvin is a Natura2000 site and has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Special Areas of Conservation are designated under the Habitats Directive, based on the presence of habitat types and/or species which are rare or threatened within the European context.
Lough Melvin is located on the border between County Fermanagh and County Leitrim. The lough originates from the last ice age, it measures 7 miles in length and has a width of approximately 3 miles, the waterbody measures 15.8 million m3. The SAC has an area of 516 hectares, the lough is fed by five major rivers and drains into the Drowes River, a 7km outlet into Donegal Bay.
The area was designated as a Special Area of Conservation due to the presence of habitats and species such as oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters with the Littorelletea uniflora and/or of the Isoet-nanojuncetea; Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinia caeruleae); old sessile oak woods with ilex and Blechnum; Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar); residual alluvial forests (Alnion glutinosa-incanae); North Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix; and otter (lutra lutra).
Conservation objectives for this area include:
- Maintaining and restoring the oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing water with vegetation, ensuring the water alkaline level does not fluctuate outside normal limits, ensuring the degree of pea staining remains at low levels;
- Maintaining and restoring Molinia meadows, expand the extent of existing fen meadows (but not at the expense of other features), maintain and enhance species variety, maintain and enhance the diversity and quality of habitats associated fen meadow;
- Maintaining and restoring old sessile oak woods, maintain and expand the extent of existing oak woodland, maintain and enhance species variety, maintain the diversity and quality of habitats associated with the oak woodland;
- Maintaining and restoring salmon (Salmo salar), maintain and expand population numbers and distribution, and maintain and enhance the extent and quality of suitable salmon habitat.
Sources: Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
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