River scheme banks on pupil power

Mrs Spratt with Victoria & Amy from Fairhill Primary School Kinallan help Michael Shanks plant a tree.
Mrs Spratt with Victoria & Amy from Fairhill Primary School Kinallan help Michael Shanks plant a tree.

Schoolchildren in the wider Dromore and Dromara areas have been helping Dromore and District Angling Club put an £8,000 grant to good use along the River Lagan.

Pupils from Dromore Primary, Dromore Nursery, Kinallen’s Fair Hill and Dromara Primary Schools pitched in on a tree-planting project as part of a scheme to establish a buffer zone on the upper Lagan.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency awarded the local angling club a Water Quality Improvement Grant for the scheme on lands owned by Mr Ronnie Dougan and Dr Brian Cupples at Lurgan Road. Known locally as ‘Moore’s’, the lands have been the scene of work to erect 610m of fencing and plant some 725 trees to provide protection for the riverbanks and cover for the fish and other wildlife.

Thanking the landowners for permitting the work, D&DAC secretary Michael Shanks added: “The fencing will stop livestock from entering the river to access water and Pasture Pump drinkers have also been installed to water livestock as no mains water is available to this land.

“The club would thank the Woodland Trust for providing the trees for the project and also the local schools for taking part in the tree-planting project.”

Six boys and six girls from each school took part, along with a number of teachers and helpers; the club committee planted the rest of the trees. Indebted to the schools for their efforts, said Mr Shanks, the club members are looking forward to seeing the trees grow and will be monitoring their benefits over the next five years.

“The project should help with cleaning sediment from the riverbed and improve not only the water quality but also the habitat for the fish and fishing within the river system,” he said.

Mr Shanks added the club’s thanks to the NIEA’s Jo Campbell for her help and for taking part in the tree-planting project; also to JP Corry (Dromore) for their donation.

With the help of landowners, members hope to do additional work along the river in the near future.