Blue Dot catchment videos are available from Duhallow Farming

Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot catchments was a five-year European Innovation Partnership project that ran from 2109 to 2023. It was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Blue Dot waters are our best quality waters. They have the highest ecological quality of all waters (high status) and contain the greatest diversity of species that are sensitive to pollution. Blue Dot waters have a natural physical form that has not been changed or impacted much by human activities. The Water Framework Directive requires that there is no deterioration in any waters. The EPA has identified water bodies that should be high status and these are called Blue Dot waters or Blue Dot catchments and these can be lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal waterbodies.

Since the 1980’s Ireland has lost many of its high status waters.  In 1990, 31.6% of monitored river sites had high status whereas in 2019 only 19% had high status. The Blue Dot catchment programme is a collaborative programme being delivered by a range of agencies as a means of focusing attention and resources to protect and restore high status objective waters.

The Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot catchments aims to restore and protect high status waters in the Allow River catchment including River Dalua, Owenanare and other tributaries. The project:

  • Worked closely with farmers using a results-based scheme for sustainable agricultural practices that enhance wetland and freshwater ecosystems.
  • Designated the rivers a Special Area of Conservation for freshwater pearl mussel, lamprey and salmon.
  • Builds on previous projects to improve the natural environment in the Duhallow region.

The following videos show some of the work that was done by farmers in the Allow River catchment including nature-based solutions, buffer strips, wet grasslands and in-drain sediment traps.

The Importance of wet grassland

Spatially targeted buffer strips

In drain sediment ponds

Nature based solutions

Farm road upgrades


Farming for Blue Dot overview


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