The East Wicklow Rivers Trust officially formed at the start of 2019. The driver behind the initial set up of the trust was a community based effort to engage in a planning process that had the potential to harm the Vartry river. The trust covers an area of over 1300 square kilometers stretching from Bray to Arklow. We cover the Vartry, Avoca and Dargle rivers and all the rivers, steams lakes and wetlands shown below.
Trusts are independent community-led charitable organisation, recognised as important deliverers of education, water management advice and practical conservation work, from source to sea – improving land, rivers and wetlands at a catchment or river basin scale.
The trust has formed initially with 8 voluntary directors or trustees. These 8 people are made up of some of the people who were originally involved in the community appeal to protect the Vartry river, some local individuals with whom we connected through public consultation and some people with specific skills to help with the legal and governance side of setting up. We also have a voluntary admin support to help us keep the house in order.
The formation of this trust would not have been possible without encouragement and support from all sides, from the local authority and prescribed bodies to LAWPRO (formally LAWCO) as well as many private individuals. Special thanks go to Mark Horton from “The Rivers Trust” and Sinead Hurson from LAWPRO who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support this initiative.
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In Ireland, the well-established Slaney Rivers Trust and Nore Rivers Trust have been joined by a growing number of newly formed trusts, including Inishowen Rivers Trust in County Donegal, Maigue Rivers Trust in County Limerick and the Waterville Lakes and Rivers Trust in County Kerry. A newly establish Association on the River Moy Trust in County Mayo.
In Northern Ireland, The Rivers Trust network stretches from the Lagan River in the east to Erne system in the west, with a total of 8trusts across the country. Two of these rivers trusts, the River Blackwater Catchment Trust and Erne Rivers Trust are crossborder, making them the first international rivers trusts.
The trusts on the island of Ireland join the 44 in England and Wales and 25 rivers and fisheries trust in Scotland. In Ireland, The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (DHPCLG) and the newly formed Local Authority Water and Communities Office (LAWCO) are keen to see the development of rivers trusts across the country. The Department has provided funding to support groups who are interested in forming a rivers trust in their area.