Magheraveely Marl Loughs

Site details

UK map showing location of Magheraveely Marl Loughs Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of Magheraveely Marl Loughs SAC/SCI/cSAC


When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

3140 Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp.
These six loughs are small inter-drumlin marl lakes fed by lime-rich water. They are examples of lakes on a predominantly limestone substrate. In comparison with other lakes in this part of Northern Ireland, this site is important because the water has not been influenced by nutrient enrichment and remains clear, with a high lime content and low plant nutrient content. Stoneworts are the dominant submerged vegetation and include several rare and local species, including Chara aspera, C. curta, C. hispida and C. pedunculata.
7230 Alkaline fens
Magheraveely Marl Loughs consists of a cluster of six low-lying lakes in the catchment of the River Finn in Northern Ireland. These occur over an area of Carboniferous limestone bedrock. The lakes are surrounded by an inundation zone containing significant stands of alkaline fen vegetation. This is generally composed of a sward that is very rich in sedges and herbs. Characteristic species include the sedges lesser tussock-sedge Carex diandra, long-stalked yellow sedge C. viridula ssp. brachyrrhyncha and glaucous sedge C. flacca. Other frequent species include marsh arrowgrass Triglochin palustre, quaking-grass Briza media and more notably, marsh helleborine Epipactis palustris, grass-of-Parnassus Parnassia palustris, knotted pearlwort Sagina nodosa and fen bedstraw Galium uliginosum. The latter are all scarce species in Northern Ireland.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

7210 Calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and species of the Caricion davallianae  * Priority feature

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

1092 White-clawed (or Atlantic stream) crayfish  Austropotamobius pallipes
These four marl loughs in Northern Ireland have strong isolated populations of white-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes. This site has been selected because of its hydrological isolation and the absence of crayfish plague from Northern Ireland.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

Not applicable.

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