Staff from IFI and the National Parks and Wildlife Service came together at Castlegregory Golf Club to remove a highly invasive aquatic weed and support the conservation of an endangered amphibian. The Natterjack Toad, one of only three amphibians found in Ireland, is confined to a small number of coastal sites on the Dingle and Iveragh peninsulas and also a small introduced population in Wexford.


Literally dragging the weed from the pond

As a result of this restricted range, the protection of breeding ponds is a priority for the NPWS. The plant in question, New Zealand pigmyweed, was introduced to the country as an ornamental species to oxygenate artificial ponds. As a result, it is normally found in garden or golf course ponds but has also been the focus of an eradication attempt in the Grand Canal. Within these water bodies the plant expands its range and rapidly dominates the available habitat. In order to eradicate the weed from Castlegregory large amounts of plant material were removed from the pond and composted to prevent the weed spreading.


Laying the jute matting across the pond

A trial section of the pond was then covered with biodegradable jute matting to exclude light from the remaining plants, similar to the method being used successfully against Curly leaved waterweed (Lagarosiphon major) on Lough Corrib. Monitoring the situation in the pond will be essential to ensuring the success of the operation.

Video of operation

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