The BRIDE Project (Biodiversity Regeneration In a Dairying Environment) is an innovative agri-environment project based in the River Bride catchment of north-east County Cork and west Waterford, Ireland. The project is co-funded by the European Union and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine through the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) funding initiative and the project will operate through the period 2018-2023.
The project aims to design and implement a results-based approach to conserve, enhance and restore habitats in lowland intensive farmland.
An innovative feature of the BRIDE Project is the landscape-scale approach to biodiversity whereby groups of farmers in a given area will be encouraged to implement a range of habitat improvement measures. This combined, community-based effort is an entirely new approach to environmental management compared to the randomised process of selection in previous agri-environment schemes.
Another innovative aspect is the use of a results-based payment scheme where farmers will have each habitat on their farm assessed and scored, with higher quality habitats gaining higher payments.
Donal Sheehan is Project Manager with the BRIDE Project and he took time out to answer our quick five on the fly for Council.ie
1. What have the challenges been in your sector?
DS: Raising awareness and trying to change behaviour in order to improve biodiversity
2. How did you/the organisation adapt?
DS: We began with a small number of farmers and concentrated on implementing best practice with these. It was then rolled out further afield.
3. What lessons did you learn/ are you learning from this?
DS: No challenge is impossible – when you highlight the problem but most importantly showcase a practical solution anything can change and improve
4. What advice can you give based on your experience in this area thus far?
DS: Stick to the goal and don’t let those who don’t want to change get in the way.
5. What does the future hold?
DS: Swing over to more sustainable ways of producing food. Ensuring farmers are rewarded for their efforts in producing same.