THE Westfiled wetlands, home to a huge number of species, are under threat from invasive species, Green Party local election candidate for North City Brian Leddin has warned.
“Westfields is part of the Lower Shannon Special Area of Conservation and is a highly significant site in Limerick City for wildlife. It’s not unusual to find up to fifty species of birds in the area”, he said.
“I grew up near the wetlands, and they are a precious environmental resource for our city. The alien invasive plants Japanese knotweed and winter heliotrope are growing near the lake and outcompeting native plant species. The Council’s removal of poplar trees next to the Condell road last March has contributed to the spread of Japanese knotweed.”
Mr Leddin said that the open water on the lake at Westfields is reducing every year because of the encroaching reeds. “While this is a natural process to some extent, it may be increasing due to the presence of the alien invasive zebra mussel.
“According to the Irish wetland bird survey data, over the last five years, the total numbers of wetland birds in Ireland have declined by 15.5 per cent. It is vital to everything possible be done to preserve Westfields for wildlife and as a local amenity and wildlife sanctuary.”
Mr. Leddin concluded: “The Westfields are worth protecting for future generations, and I’d like to see Limerick City and County Council join with local community groups to form a management plan to tackle these issues.”