Successful project breathes new life into River Lagan

Pictured surveying the species levels at the new river bed site are Trevor Ogborn and Gary Houston of the Lagan River Trust, with Geri Wright from Phoenix Natural Gas.
Pictured surveying the species levels at the new river bed site are Trevor Ogborn and Gary Houston of the Lagan River Trust, with Geri Wright from Phoenix Natural Gas.

The River Lagan is set to be brimming with life again after the creation of a new spawning bed on the waterway near Gravelhill Road, Maze.

Phoenix Natural Gas, in partnership with the Lagan Rivers Trust, recently set out to undertake a key environmental initiative to restore river life and create a new river access point to ensure the conservation of important species.

Trevor Ogborn from the Lagan Rivers Trust explained: “This project by Phoenix Natural Gas to create a new spawning bed at the River Lagan has been invaluable to maintaining the river habitat and conserving aquatic life.

“The addition of the gravel river bed and creation of the verges along the river bank has enabled us to access this part of the river for the first time. We are now able to monitor the river bed on a monthly basis and observe species levels at this section of river.”

He continued: “Despite less than ideal water quality, in just a few short months we have seen a resurgence of life in the river thanks to the new river bed which is a spawning bed for trout and salmon and we look forward to seeing an increased volume of these fish as hatching season draws near. We have also seen increased species levels of mussels, shrimp, water hog louse, and baetis, commonly known as olives; all of which are vital to maintaining a healthy river habitat.

“It is hoped that as the year progresses, and with an improvement in water quality, we will see a huge increase in caddis populations as this is an important food source for fish and a key indicator of water quality. Caddis also loves this type of gravel so we hope to see a great improvement in fish population in the area this year”.

Commenting on the success of the project, Geri Wright, Communications Manager at Phoenix Natural Gas, said: “Phoenix Natural Gas recognises its environmental responsibilities within the areas we are serving and we are delighted that our work, in partnership with the Lagan Rivers Trust, has regenerated this area of the river bed. Not only can we now enjoy a resurgence of life in the river, but we have created access to this section which will benefit local school groups, anglers and conservationists.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Lagan Rivers Trust and delivering other important environmental initiatives to benefit the wider community.”

For more information about Phoenix Gas click on www.phoenixnaturalgas.com

To learn more about the work of the Lagan Rivers Trust search ‘Lagan Rivers Trust’ on Facebook.