Leixlip

Biodiversity Action Plan

2022-26

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Contents

 

Acknowledgements & Contact Details

1

Introduction

1

What is Biodiversity?

2

Section 2:

3

Biodiversity in our area

3

Main Biodiversity Sites

4

Recent Progress

5

Objective 1: Making Leixlip biodiversity friendly

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Objective 2: Raising awareness of local biodiversity & how to protect it

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Objective 3: Collecting evidence to track change & measure success

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Objective 4: Build local capacity to manage & record biodiversity

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Mapping the Actions

15

Section 4: Resources

16

Links to useful online resources

17

Potential project funders

19

Useful contacts & sources

20

Habitat Management Guidelines

24

Planting for Biodiversity

26

Invasive Alien Species

30

Equipment Checklist

31

Mood Board

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Acknowledgements & Contact Details

This action plan was produced as part of the Community Foundation Ireland funded project where towns and villages across Ireland were encouraged to work with an ecologist to compile a Biodiversity Action Plan for their local area.

Getting Involved:

Like all TidyTowns groups, Leixlip Tidy Town Association is completely voluntary so we’re always happy to welcome more help! As this BAP shows there’s plenty of different kinds of projects worth getting involved in whether that be the weekly litter pick or maybe just working on one particular project that interests you. If you wish to get involved with any of the actions outlined in this Plan, please contact us at our Leixlip Tidy Town Association Facebook page:

Leixlip TidyTowns: https://www.facebook.com/LeixlipTidyTownAssociation/

Photographs: Photos used in this Plan are courtesy of Dr Fiona Mac Gowan and Brian Gaynor of Green Pine Consultants.

Section 1

Introduction

This Biodiversity Action SectionPlan1aims to guide the local community and stakeholders in their efforts to protect and restore some of this natural heritage and maximise the benefits that nature can provide for the people of Leixlip. The Plan is not intended to be a static document but rather to be regularly reviewed and updated over its life

A healthy natural world is crucial to our way of life; it provides us with clean air & water, food, shelter, and much more!

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What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability of all living things including plants, animals, microbes, fungi and people. It also includes the places where plants and animals live (known as habitats), the interactions among living things (the web of life) and their environment (ecology).

Biodiversity is all around us, everywhere and in our everyday life. It forms complex systems that sustain life on Earth. Each part of the system is important no matter how small or trivial it may seem to us. Think of it as a puzzle; having a biodiverse system allows us to see the full puzzle but when we start to remove different pieces, or species, the picture loses important parts.

We rely completely on biodiversity to provide us with the basic elements we need such as clean air and water, food, fuel, building products and medicines. We also rely on it for the many free ‘services’ such as nutrient recycling, pollination and water filtration etc. It is therefore vital that we make space for nature in our towns, villages and countryside for us to continue living full and healthy lives.

“Biodiversity underpins the functioning of the ecosystems on which we depend for food and fresh water, health and recreation, and protection from natural disasters. Its loss also affects us culturally and spiritually. This may be more difficult to quantify, but is nonetheless integral to our wellbeing”

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

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Section 2:

Biodiversity in our area

An historical village with a rich history of its own, Leixlip now forms part of the greater western suburbs of Dublin city. The village, however, features a green heart running through its centre in the form of the tree-lined banks of the Liffey, Rye Water and Silleachain rivers. Indeed, the Rye and Silleachain join the Liffey less than 100m from the Main street. In addition, the Grand Canal runs around the northern and western edges of Leixlip. The Louisa Bridge crosses both the canal and the railway track in west Leixlip and this area is well known by generations of naturalists in Ireland as it hosts a number of rare species and habitats. The village is encircled by a great walkway along the banks of the Liffey and Rye Water rivers. The walk extends out to the Grand Canal or the walker can wind their way back to the Main Street along the tree-lined Captain’s Hill featuring beautiful historic houses that hint at the village’s fascinating history. The conservation areas of note in the locality include the start of the Liffey Valley pNHA (proposed Natural Heritage Area) which stretches from Leixlip to Chapelizod. The Royal Canal which runs along the northern bounds of Leixlip is also a pNHA. The stretch of the Rye Water river from Leixlip back to the Carton Estate is protected as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Please note that further details on your local conservation sites can be found at: www.npws.ie/protected-sites/

Leixlip is home to some prominent mature deciduous trees, a historical legacy of large estates and stud-farms such as Castlemartin and Newabbey.

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Main Biodiversity Sites

There are numerous places of important biodiversity value in Leixlip. The following are some of the main ones in and around the village.

River Liffey: This river is famous as the river of Dublin city but before that it rises in the Wicklow Mountains and meanders its way through much of the plains of Kildare. The Liffey is a font of biodiversity especially as it winds through the centre of Leixlip with its adjacent walkway making it more accessible than along other stretches of its length. It is also noteworthy that the stretch of the River Liffey from Leixlip to Chapelizod is protected as the Liffey Valley pNHA 000128 (see p.22 for the NPWS site description).

Silleachain stream and Lane: The Silleachain is a small tributary of the Liffey that rises in a former wetland with the poetic name of the Moor of Meath north of Leixlip, just over the border into Co. Meath. While classed as a stream, the Silleachain cuts through a deep, wooded gorge, along the western side of St Catherine’s Park. It runs into the Liffey on the east side of the village. The Silleachain Lane runs parallel to the stream forming a beautiful walk with a rural feel from the Glendale Road down through to the village centre beside the entrance to St Catherine’s Park.

Royal Canal (pNHA 002103): The Royal Canal is a man-made waterway linking the River Liffey at Dublin to the River Shannon near Tarmonbarry. The canal NHA comprises the central channel and the banks on either side of it. The main water supply is from Lough Owel (also an NHA) via a feeder channel into the canal at Mullingar. The ecological value of the canal lies more in the diversity of species it supports along its linear habitats than in the presence of rare species. Its accessibility to the walker and cyclist make it a great spot for some nature watching on the edge of Dublin city.

Leixlip Residential Estates: Several residential estates in and around Leixlip have begun to manage sections of their green spaces for pollinators. These areas dotted across the locality are part of the national effort to halt the decline of this valuable habitat which supports native pollinators, birds, and other wildlife.

Rye Water Valley/Carton (SAC 001398): The Rye Water river begins its journey to the west near Enfield. For a short section of its journey through the Carton Estate and into Leixlip it is designated with the highest level of conservation importance as a special Area of Conservation. This is because it features important rare petrifying springs habitat as well as two very rare species of whorl snails. These latter species are incredibly difficult to find but their presence

indicates a high level of ecological quality in the area which features many other species that will delight the nature-lover who visits. The area around Louisa Bridge is accessible for all to see.

The Leixlip Wildflower Bed: In recent years, LTTA began to manage the triangular green area on Station Road opposite the Garda Station as a wildflower meadow. This lovely spot is a biodiversity highlight of the locality with several species of wildflowers growing happily alongside the grasses and trees providing excellent habitats for many of our beleaguered pollinator species. Local awareness has also been increased through the provision of information signs, inviting mown grass paths and benches where the locals can sit and enjoy the

peace and the hum of happy insects. A beautiful Pyramidal orchid was found during a summer visit demonstrating how nature will quickly reward our efforts!

St Catherine’s Park: This public park, jointly run by Kildare, South Dublin & Fingal Co. Cos. is a green lung in an increasingly urbanised area formed from what was orignially a Norman estate. The park is a mix of amenity grassland, hedgerows and woodland thus featuring examples of several different habitats where Leixlip residents can explore their local biodiversity.

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Recent Progress

In the summer of 2020, members of Leixlip Tidy Town

Association met to organise this BAP.

A lot of work has been carried out in recent years already to enhance Leixlip’s biodiversity. The following are some examples of these:

A wildflower area has been managed on the Station Road for several years.

Wildlife information boards have been erected at the Rye Water walkway, along the Grand Canal & at the Louisa Bridge.

A Community Orchard was planted along the Rye water river.

A simple Biodiversity Trail extending to over 1.5km with 3 information panels and necessary guide posts was completed in early 2021

A Leixlip Tree Trail is being developed

The wild Pyramidal orchid species has started growing in the wildflower area on Station Road, a sign of increasing biodiversity in Leixlip as nature is allowed prosper here

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