Flora and Fauna
Areas which are of special environmental status in Ireland can gain basic protection as Natural Heritage Areas. The most important of these sites can be given further protection and designated a Special Area of Conservation.
As an unpolluted hard-water lake which is rare in Ireland and Europe, Lough Lene has been designated a Special Area of Conservation.
The surrounding wetlands have also been included as they support important habitats for wildlife and plant life.
The lake hosts a range of Pondweed and a range of Stoneworts including:
- Potamogeton perfoliatus
- Potamogeton lucens
- Chara pedunculata
- Chara Curta.
The stoneworts are actually large algae. Their habitat in limescale environments leads to their being covered in white lime deposits. This leads to a crusty exterior from whence they get their name. The stoneworts are particularly important as indicators of hardwater or marl in the Lake. They are also vulnerable to pollution and as such, an indicator of the health of the lake.
Around the edges of the lake, the common reed and common club rush can be found. Also where the shore fringe is stony, there are examples of Spike rush, Jointed rush, Shoreweed, Redshank, Marsh Pennywort and sedges.
There are some areas of wet woodland around the lake. In come cases, the woodland is actually encroaching into the lake. Species to found in these areas include Willow, Birch and Alder
The wood at the NW also has a range of Sphragnum mosses, Bilberry and Heather.
Birdlife at the lake includes the Pochard, a colourful diving duck. It also includes other diving birds like the Coot, the Little Glebe and the Great-crested Grebe
Snipe, Curlew, Lapwing and Water Rail are examples of the types of wading birds which can be found frequenting the edges of the lake.
Lough Lene is also a trout lake. However, one of the rarer species in the lake is the White Clawed Crayfish. This species enjoys similar conditions to the brown trout in that it enjoys good water quality, moderate summer temperatures and it prefers hard water lakes. This crayfish is greyish brown and grow to appox 12 cm.Populations in Lough Lene were estimated at approx 1 million but numbers were effected in the eighties. Restocking of the lake is reported to have led to evidence of survival and successful reproduction.
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