Our Future Vision

We recently received the plans for our new proposed centre. Based on the Eastern shore close to the car park the centre has the potential to be the focus of all our activities in the future. From nursing injured birds, talks & lectures on flora and fauna, exhibitions and events the centre could become an invaluable resoure to the whole community. This centre and our vision for it can only progress with the support and goodwill of the entire community.

an artists impression on how it will look when finished

How the centre will look on completion.

the new centre viewed from above

The proposed new centre viewed from above. The existing path will be extended and all trees and shrubs will remain in place.

Functions of the resource centre

The resource centre proposed for Ballysaggart lough will be all of the following:

Developing and enhancing the resource centre on the lough shore will provide opportunities for social gain. Focus should centre on providing quality, appropriately located and well managed facilities. A concentration of people and activity could lead to habitat, species or landscape disturbance. Regular monitoring is essential to ensure that the natural, built and landscape resource is adequately conserved and maintained.

The resource/ educational facility will offer the following facilities:

The view of the new centre from the side

Raised from the ground, the centre will have very little 'impact' on the actual land and will use environmentally friendly materials. Straw bales will be the main building material, light will enter the building through the atrium, making this a very low maintenance cost effective building.

Development of surrounding area

Plant Scrubs - Plant areas of sympathetically placed scrub around the margins of the marsh as this would reduce any disturbance and provide habitat for reed bunting and warblers. However is has been suggested that the scrubs should be removed from within the marsh areas as this would help to retain the habitat requirement of the marsh plants, as the growth of scrub will lead to the drying out of the marsh. Trees sympathetic to the area, which will not impact on the visiting species of bird to the site.

more detailed view from above

The centre will have a main conference/education room, treatment centre for injured birds, kitchen,toilets and warden's office. The raised viewing platform will have a timber hand rail and can be accessed by the disbaility ramp.

Our Future Focus

The continued existence or opportunity for the public to see this wildlife could be compromised if the area becomes over-developed and critical shore habitat is lost or overly disturbed.

Richard Weyl:
Senior Scientific Officer, NIEA, Belfast.

Employment of local people

It is vital to have a variety of viable employment opportunities for people within the local community. Care must be taken to ensure, that in providing employment opportunities, the natural, built and landscape heritage is not degraded. The potential jobs which may be created will all be maintenance based, wardens for the lough and resource centre. Any new developments must be assessed to ensure sustainability. Local people must be involved in highlighting and providing opportunities for a viable economy.

Monitor, maintain and enhance indigenous fish populations

Attention must be focused on maintaining populations of all indigenous fish. Again a healthy natural environment is linked to the preservation of the water quality.
It is envisaged that any development to the site will have a positive effect on indigenous fish populations, but there should be no clearing of indigenous stocks to allow for restocking with coarse fish. Enhancing populations may encourage more activity within the sport of fishing and it is believed that this would have knock on negative implications for disturbance. The community group want to ensure the sustainability of the existing species, and habitat.

Managing Recreation Risks

Managing water access points to provide for water based recreation could have potential negative effects on the natural environment and landscape quality. Activity itself may cause disturbance to native species and associated dredging programmes may disturb aquatic species. Encouraging water related activity and tourism will increase the risk of invasive species entering the Lough. Such negative impacts must receive due consideration in any management plan for new developments and an EIA must be produced. It is vital that these sites are well managed to minimise impact and that future development is sustainable.

Re-establish links with the other lakes.

Dungannon council inititally proposed a walkway linking the Black Lough with Dungannon Park. The Group are very keen to see this link re-established. It would enable the community to travel between the two lakes on foot/cycle in a safe and sustainable manner, reconnecting two lakes with a shared purpose.