Conservation group cleans up

Members of the public and other volunteers listen to the lecture at the Glas-na-Bradan River. INNT 10-805CON
Members of the public and other volunteers listen to the lecture at the Glas-na-Bradan River. INNT 10-805CON

Members of the Glas-na-Bradan Conservation Association recently conducted a lecture and clean-up at the river and glen in Rathcoole.

Local ecologists Andrew Moore, David Thompson and David Welsh were joined by Dr Raymond Flynn of Queen’s University Belfast to present the riverbank lecture,

The team demonstrated the benefits of river water quality monitoring to local community groups at the event which took place on Saturday, February 27.

Following the lecture, the group, assisted by members of the local community, the Three Mile Water Conservation and Angling Association and the Belfast Hills Partnership conducted a clean-up in Glas-na-Bradan Glen. The team successfully collected a large amount of litter which had accumulated at the site.

The Glas-na-Bradan Conservation Association was formed in July 2015, with the intention of improving water quality, increasing biodiversity, encouraging and educating the community to take pride in their area by developing a series of community led projects.

The group received the Live Here Love Here grant in October 2015. This funding, which was awarded courtesy of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, enabled the association to purchase high tech, scientific instruments required to monitor the quality of this urban river system. This has enabled them to examine the impact of urbanisation on the river’s quality and link this to the life found in it.

Speaking at the event, Dr Flynn said: “Although the river been often perceived by many as ‘dead’, the project showed that this is not necessarily the case. Measurements along the whole river have been able to show that in some areas the Glas-na-Bradan supports aquatic life, while elsewhere pollution has been detected and that needs to be tackled if the health of the river is to improve.”

A spokesman from the association said: “We’re extremely proud to see a return on our project which should lead to bigger projects within Newtownabbey. We’re already planning how we can develop these by securing future investment and sponsorship to sustain these opportunities. Our project has been about education and changing mind sets. We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to deliver that.”