Protection of the aquatic environment is a vitally important element of IFI's work as clean water is a fundamental requirement for healthy fish stocks. Much of the IFI's work in protecting water quality is preventive in nature with considerable emphasis on ensuring that planned developments do not impact negatively on water quality. IFI is a prescribed body under the Planning and Development Acts and must be consulted by planning authorities in relation to proposed developments which may cause water pollution. In addition to monitoring of proposed housing developments, considerable attention is devoted to examining planned infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, sewerage schemes, industries etc. Such projects are also monitored during construction. Proposed forestry developments are also examined with a view to protecting water quality and recommendations made as appropriate.
IFI deals with a wide range of reports in relation to pollution incidents and alleged incidents. Many of these come from concerned members of the public or from anglers. All incidents are investigated and follow-up action is taken as appropriate. Frequently, such action involves the issue of a warning letter and another inspection, at a later date, to ensure that action has been taken to deal with an identified pollution source or threat. In order to minimise the threat of agricultural pollution, farm inspections are carried out in various parts of the region each year and any identified problems are brought to the attention of the farmers concerned.
The Board also has ongoing water quality monitoring programmes in a number of areas. For example, water samples are taken weekly from many lakes, rivers and streams and these are analysed in IFI laboratories. Such programmes provide valuable information in relation to the main sources of nutrients entering water courses and enable IFI to devote particular attention to problem areas.