One of NI’s greatest natural treasures is set to benefit from a multi-million pound cash injection in a bid to protect and conserve the picturesque landscape.
The Heritage Lottery Fund is to invest £2.6m over five years as part of a major new partnership initiative in the Fermanagh lakelands.
The new Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP), led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds NI, plans to deliver 23 projects to improve access and protect habitats and species.
The innovative partnership scheme will see the LELP join forces with a host of organisations to safeguard the Lough and its surroundings.
Activities will include the creation of trails and walkways to improve access.
Invasive species will be better managed to allow native plants to thrive and conservation works will support the breeding populations of waders, such as curlew, snipe, and lapwing, which have seen a decline of more than 80% over the last 30 years.
Local people will be encouraged to get involved in the project, with a dedicated training and volunteering programme providing opportunities to become a heritage champion for the landscape, lead guided tours or develop traditional skills such as stone carving, thatching, and heritage crafts.
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan said: “The Fermanagh lakelands are an area of breath taking beauty, rich in history and culture and treasured as a space for relaxation and enjoyment.
“However the area has suffered from habitat loss and species decline, largely due to the lack of a co-ordinated management strategy.
“So we are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, RSPB NI and partners can progress their vision for the area, safeguarding the landscape and reconnecting people to the heritage of this amazing landscape.”