Biodiversity on the River Lagan

The Department is responsible for the impounded River Lagan between Stranmillis Weir and Lagan Weir. Part of its commitment is to continue the transformation of this stretch of the river. This includes protecting and enhancing biodiversity on the river.

Biodiversity study

A Biodiversity study for the impounded River Lagan was commissioned to survey and map the habitat along the banks of the River Lagan from Stranmillis Weir to Lagan Weir.  Policies, plans and objectives that would influence the development of a biodiversity enhancement strategy were reviewed and stakeholders were consulted.  

Goals and deliverables were identified to conserve and enhance the recreational value of this stretch of the Lagan whilst protecting biodiversity.  These goals and deliverables were arranged under the eight strategic objectives and actions to address these have been identified and plans made to deliver improvements.  

Improvements delivered

The survey confirmed that the water quality in the river has improved.  This is due to work we have done to refurbish the Lagan which has included a unique in-river aeration system and a complete dredge of the river removing silt and manmade pollution.  

Now the river supports salmon, trout and a small population of eel.  There are also black guillemots, cormorants, kingfishers, shags, redshanks, oyster catchers, grey herons and a very large population of starlings which can be seen in murmurations as they descend to roost under the Albert Bridge every night.  If you look carefully you might even see a seal!  

Planned work

Building on this solid base a programme of work has been devised which will attract wildlife, including birds on the conservation concern list, and create a wildflower ecosystem.

Here is some of the work that is being carried out:

  • wildflowers and yellow rattle replacing grassy banks
  • planting of snowdrops, primroses, bluebells, red campion and wild garlic
  • blackthorn, oak and alder saplings planted
  • reed beds cut and managed
  • bat, swift, wagtail and standard bird boxes installed
  • kingfisher nest pipe and chambers dug into the river bank

River Lagan photographs

Ronald Surgenor is a member of the River Management team as well as a keen amateur naturalist. His Flickr photostream shows a selection of some of the plants, creatures and wildlife friendly habitat you can now expect to see within the river corridor as well as some of the wildlife initiatives being put into action on the river. 


For more information contact the Lagan River and Weir team.

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