€ 140,000 to be allocated to monitor snails as part of a major conservation attempt
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is expected to spend more than € 140,000 to monitor snails at around 60 sites across the country.
The three-year project will study the conservation status of three species of tiny whorl snails, which are protected under Annex II of the Habitats Directive: Vertigo geyeri, angustior and moulinsiana.
Surveys on all three species have been carried out on a large scale since 1996, the last of which between 2008 and 2010 identified 63 sites in which the snails lived, located in areas such as Mayo, Sligo, Laois, Kildare and Meath .
Snails depend on specific groundwater conditions and only live for around a year, which means they are vulnerable to changes in humidity and have been lost at many sites in Ireland and elsewhere in the EU.
The NPWS is now seeking offers from interested parties to carry out a new monitoring project so that the results can be compared to previous results.
The contractor will also have to make recommendations to help preserve the species and their habitats.
“The assessment… for 2013-2019 judged that the conservation status of the three species was unfavorable, in particular Vertigo geyeri”, indicates the tender dossier.
“There has been a decline in the range, population and habitat quality of the three species since the entry into force of the Habitats Directive.”
The project is expected to cost € 140,000 plus VAT over three and a half years with the possibility of a six-month extension.
The successful tenderer will also have to collect snail samples for DNA analysis.
They will also describe the activities that impact the species at each site and make recommendations for the management and preservation of snails and their habitats.
There are currently 14 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in which Vertigo geyeri has been located, while Vertigo angustior has been identified in 12 SACs and Vertigo moulinsiana is present in seven.
The locations where the species was found in the previous survey are Leitrim, Roscommon, Donegal and Westmeath.