Wildlife writer  Albert Nolan

Wildlife writer Albert Nolan

Since their efforts were first highlighted in 2014, the Friends of St John’s River have attracted huge praise – and rightly so.
This group of proactive citizens have been busy carrying out improvement works in the St John’s River, Kilbarry area of Waterford City and have earned veery plaudit which has come their way.
The area was in the local news recently because of instances of anti-social behaviour, but thankfully such issues are now being addressed by the powers that be.
Such behaviour should not be allowed to detract from the fantastic efforts of the Friends of St John’s River group of volunteers.
A whole host of various different events which they have organised have showcased the beauty and potential of the river itself and the surrounding areas.
A boat meeting was held earlier this summer which showcased the potential of the river for use by canoes, kayaks and small boats.
But this event was not just important for highlighting the recreational potential of the area.
It also served an important purpose by highlighting areas of the river which need further work in order to improve accessibility.
Prior to the boat meeting, problems were encountered along the Inner Ring Road- Ursuline Court stretch of the river by some boats as they made their way up the river from Scotch Quay to the beginning of the boat rally at Cherrymount Bridge.
As a result, volunteers have been busy removing fallen trees and branches from these areas which were found to have caused obstructions.
A low lying pipe which ran along the surface of the river next to John Mitchell Golf Shop has been removed as part of the city’s flood scheme.
“This is a game changer for the future of the river as it now opens the waterway up to navigation from Scotch Quay to Sheep’s Bridge given correct timing on tides,” explained Brian Simpson.
Additionally, kayak trials will be conducted along the full length of the river in order to gain better knowledge of issues such as tidal conditions.
However, it’s not just the river itself which is undergoing a significant transformation.
The area around the river has significantly improved from a visual perspective.
This has been a challenging task for volunteers as the area has been a popular location for drinking and anti-social behaviour.
Regular litterpicks have been taking place in order to keep the area in beautiful condition.
When everyone sees the valiant efforts of all the volunteers associated with the project, it will hopefully de
Easter Island Garden Centre have provided more plants for the Cherrymount bridge area and many of the wild flower seeds which volunteers sowed last spring are now in full bloom.
Sheep’s Bridge area is also being maintained and this is adding to the overall visual improvement of the entire area.
Brian Simpson said the Friends of St John’s River are extremely grateful for the support which they have received locally.
The group recently received a Waterford City & County Council Grant worth €400.
“We would also like to thank junior Irish International angler Daniel Reynolds and his colleague Davin Stacey recently undertook a fish survey along the Canal in several parts of the Tramore road,” said Brian.
“The results were very encouraging with several species recorded and healthy numbers which is a great sign for the future.”
The abundant wildlife in the area is an aspect which volunteers are keen to promote even further.
Albert Nolan, who writes a weekly wildlife column for this newspaper, while conduct a wildlife walk along St John’s River on Saturday August 15th.
Albert hosted a similar event this time last year which proved to be a huge success.
All in attendance on that occasion were amazed at the diversity of wildlife in the area, as Albert regaled everyone with fascinating facts about butterflies, hoverflies, moths, wild roses, nettles, Alder trees, and everything in between!
So, if you’d like to learn more about the wildlife which exists in this beautiful area within Waterford City, come along to ‘take a walk on the wild side’ with this special wildlife walk on Saturday August 15th.
The walk will begin at Cherrymount Bridge at 11am.
To keep up to date with developments, visit the St John’s River, Kilbarry Facebook page
Pictures from this event can be viewed in the photo gallery.