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Minister Welcomes Initial Findings of Significant Geological Mapping Project

Minister for Natural Resources, Mr. Fergus O'Dowd, T.D. recently unveiled the preliminary findings of a €5 million EU INTERREG IVA-funded geological project to map the environment and natural resources of the border region of Ireland. Minister O'Dowd was joined by the Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body, Mr Pat Colgan, to launch the data which have the potential to offer widespread environmental and economic benefits across many sectors including environmental management, agriculture, planning, renewable energy and mineral exploration. 

The Tellus Border project, which commenced in July 2011 under the stewardship of the Geological Survey of Ireland, in partnership with the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, is one of the most significant mapping projects ever to take place in Ireland. It involved an extensive airborne geophysical and ground-based geochemical survey covering the six border counties – Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth. Completing the survey phase in the summer of 2012 – having flown 60,000 km and collected close to 21,000 soil, water and sediment samples – the Tellus Border team has been analysing the data, integrated with that collected in Northern Ireland from 2004-2007, to produce preliminary findings set to improve cross-border collaboration in the management of natural resources and the environment.

The airborne survey has revealed extraordinary new detail to regional geological features which extend throughout the border region. New information on subsurface structures is already helping to improve and update the Geological Survey of Ireland's existing geological maps, which support sustainable planning countrywide. Today also saw a preview of the geochemical data, which will be released later in 2013 following continuing quality checks and interpretation. The data will reveal important natural and man-made influences on the soil and water chemistry of the area, significant for managing the environment and optimising agricultural productivity.

Discussing the relevance of the preliminary Tellus Border data, Minister O'Dowd said: "The maps released today represent a significant body of work which characterises in great detail the geology and environment of the border region. Sustainable environmental management not only protects our environment but supports many sectors of the cross-border economy including agriculture and tourism".

Welcoming the launch of the Tellus Border data Pat Colgan, Chief Executive of the SEUPB, said: "This EU funded project is truly unique and will provide an invaluable source of data that will have many significant benefits, on a cross-border basis. It will greatly enrich our knowledge of the natural environment and also enhance our agricultural capability now and in the future."

The project is a joint initiative between the Geological Survey of Ireland, the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, Dundalk Institute of Technology and Queen's University Belfast, funded by the INTERREG IVA development programme of the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

A conference will be held in October 2013 to officially close the project and present the full findings from the survey and accompanying academic research projects. Further details can be found at http://www.tellusborder.eu/ . To register for notifications for upcoming data releases, please email your details to tellusborder@gsi.ie .

Source: Envirocentre.ie - Minister Welcomes Initial Findings of Significant Geological Mapping Project