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Strabane District’s first Local Biodiversity Action Plan was launched on 25th June by Councillor Thomas Kerrigan, Strabane District Council’s Chairperson.
Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth, from insects to plants, animals and the ecosystems they depend on. It is found all around us in gardens, woodlands, fields, mountains, hedges and rivers.Biodiversity is important for our physical health, mental well-being, employment and tourism.
A biodiversity audit of the district was conducted in 2011, to identify and address the threats to local habitats and species. A number of habitats and species in Northern Ireland have declined. These are called priority habitats and species.
“This document brings people and organisations together, to take collective action, to protect priority species and habitats throughout the Strabane district”explained Councillor Kerrigan.
Christine Doherty, Strabane District Council’s Biodiversity Officer added, ‘The district has a rich, diverse range of wildlife and habitats, with the longest valley (Glenelly Valley) and largest coniferous woodland (Killeter Forest) in Northern Ireland. Along the rivers you can spot several priority species to include otters, bats and Atlantic salmon. These rivers are important for large populations of migratory waders and wildfowl species attracted by the tidal mudflats. Also, in the woodlands the rare red squirrel can be seen.”
Encouraging local people to get involved in the protection and enhancement of biodiversity the chairman concluded: “In order to conserve our beautiful natural heritage within the district for future generations, it is vital that we all take responsibility for biodiversity. Take a look at this important plan, find out what is special in your area and get involved in events and activities.”
The Local Biodiversity Action Plan is available to download at:http://www.strabanedc.com/council/services/biodiversity/actionplan/