Minister Noonan announces 78 Community Biodiversity Grants

Date Released: Monday, March 4, 2024

Minister Noonan announces 78 Community Biodiversity Grants

  • Endangered species and habitats at centre of new Community Biodiversity Action Plans.
  • Philanthropic and Government partnership delivers grants, with support for an additional 78 communities this year.
  • Grants connect communities with ecologists to document nature and biodiversity in their local area, and to take action to restore it.

Protecting Corncrakes on the Aran Islands, Sand Martins in the Midlands and a 11-acre island Nature Reserve on the River Nore are among 78 new community plans being supported through a partnership between philanthropy and Government.

Each local project will be receiving access to experts to either develop a new Community Biodiversity Action Plan (CBAP) or support to implement measures from an existing plan.

The grants are the latest in a joint Biodiversity Fund, an initiative of the Community Foundation Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service which has seen 213 such action plans developed across the country through a joint investment of €1.76 Million since 2019. Completed CBAPs can be viewed at

Announcing the grants, Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, said:

“These grants are uniquely impactful because they connect community groups with scientific expertise, helping them to better understand their local biodiversity. Successful grantees work with ecologists to create a Community Biodiversity Action Plan and can then seek funding to implement it. All of the data they collect is shared with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, making a valuable contribution to citizen science in Ireland.

“This partnership between the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Community Foundation Ireland began as a ‘Seed for Nature’ at the 2019 National Biodiversity Conference, so it’s particularly special to see it flourish and deliver so much impact all across the country, with 213 CBAPs in place and more to come.

“It’s vital that we empower communities to restore nature at grassroots level, especially as the National Biodiversity Action Plan takes root. Over the coming years, Local Authorities will also be developing Local Biodiversity Action Plans. Active, informed and engaged communities will help us ensure that policy-making for biodiversity is a two way street: top down and bottom up.”

Minister Noonan and Biodiversity Colleagues

The latest grant round of €376,000 will see communities supported in every part of the country in both rural and urban areas. Projects include:

  • Planning for the regeneration of an 11-acre island on the River Nore at Thomastown, Kilkenny with the engagement of an ecologist to work with and guide the local Community River Trust. The plan is to restore the natural environment on the island over the next 5-10 years protecting all wildlife for generations to come.
  • A new Biodiversity Action Plan for all three Aran Islands to protect the Corncrake, currently a red listed bird. Locally based co-operative Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Teoranta will work with farmers and landowners to create habitats for this endangered species.
  • The development of a specially designed Sand Martin nest wall in the People’s Park, Portlaoise with the aim of increasing the number of birds on the River Triogue. The Sand Martin is currently an amber-listed bird of conservation concern. The project will include local awareness raising with signage and locally organised talks.
  • River Moy Search and Rescue, Mayo County Council, farmers, and local communities working together to develop biodiversity along the Moy estuary and at river and lake in the catchment area. Hedgerows, native tress, and wildflowers will be developed at Castlefield while farmers will be engaged and supported to put in place measures to prevent pollution of Ballymore Lough.

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Ireland added:

“This is a pioneering partnership between Government and philanthropy which has not only supported more than 200 communities but has provided leadership in responding to the biodiversity emergency. While the challenge is great, what is hugely encouraging is the interest, energy, and enthusiasm of the full spectrum of local groups now taking action to protect our plants and wildlife. On behalf of our private donors, I wish each group every success in their continued efforts.”

Niall Ó Donnchú, Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service added:

“NPWS is delighted to partner with Community Foundation Ireland on the Biodiversity Fund and to support the work of community groups in restoring and protecting nature in their local area. Science and expertise can guide us but must be translated into action by and with local communities.”