There are many different species and habitats within County Sligo, which because of their importance at European and National level, require the designation of areas for their conservation. Almost 20% of Co. Sligo is designated for nature conservation and there is an exceptional variety of habitat types to be found within our county. But what are the main types of site designation and why are sites identified for protection?
The three main types of designation are, Natural Heritage Area (NHA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA). Natural Heritage Areas, are the primary National designation, and under the Wildlife Amendment Act (2000), NHA's will be legally protected from damage from the date they are formally notified. In the interim, County Development Plans are the primary protection mechanism for NHA's. Over the next few years, we will also see for the first time, geological sites being designated as NHA's. Sligo has 20 NHA's, such as Ballygawley Lough, Lough Dargan and the Moylough Turlough.
|Site Code||Site Name||Website|
|618||Ardboline and Horse Island, Yellow Strand and Ballintemple|
|1905||Feenagh and Bunnamuck Loughs|
|1907||Fin and Riskeen Loughs|
|1670||Knocknarea Mountain and Glen|
|1901||Quarryfield West Turlough|
Some NHA's are also designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC's) or as Special Protection Areas (SPA's). SAC's represent the prime wildlife areas in Ireland, that are also considered extremely important from a European perspective. Their selection and designation occurs through the EU Habitats Directive (92.43/EEC), which lists certain habitats and species for which Ireland must designate SAC's for their protection. There are currently 18 SAC's designated in Co. Sligo, such as Ballisodare Bay, the Unshin River and the Benbulben, Gleniff and Glenade Complex.
|Site Code||Site Name|
|623||BenBulben, Gleniff and Glenade Complex|
|1656||Bricklieve Mountain and Keishcorran|
|625||Bunduff Lough and Machair/Trawalua/Mullaghmore|
|458||Killala Bay/ Moy Estuary|
|1669||Knockalongy and Knockachree Cliffs|
|633||Lough Hoe Bog|
|634||Lough Nabrickeagh Bog|
|2006||Ox Mountains Bogs|
|627||Cummeen Strand/Drumcliff Bay (Sligo Bay)|
|1680||Streedagh Point Dunes|
|636||Templehouse and Cloonacleigha Loughs|
Special Protection Areas in Sligo
Special Protection Areas (SPA's), are sites that are important to birds and the EU Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) is the primary mechanism for their designation. The Directive provides for listed rare and vulnerable species like the Whooper Swan, Peregrine Falcon and Corncrake. It also provides for regularly occurring migratory species such as geese and waders as well as, wetlands of international importance for migratory birds. Lough Arrow and Killala Bay/Moy Estuary are two of the eight SPA's designated in Co. Sligo. While designated sites are important and need protection, the nature conservation of the wider countryside is just as important, woodlands, ancient hedgerows, lakes and fens all contribute to the rich diversity of species and habitats within our county.
|Site Code||Site Name||Site Area|
|4135||Ardboline and Horse Island||148|
Dúchas, The Heritage Service, (National Parks and Wildlife Section) have responsibility for the protection of designated sites and your local conservation ranger can be contacted through the Regional Office at Glenveagh National Park, Telephone: 074 37088.