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River Trusts

River related projects can be carried out by existing community groups such as Tidy Towns Groups or Community Councils and can range from awareness raising to citizen science to physical instream works.  However, your local community may wish to establish a group dedicated to rivers’ projects, such as a Rivers Trust.  Rivers Trusts are local charities set up by local people to look after, protect and improve the quality of rivers, streams or lakes in a particular catchment.  Rivers Trusts have a long history in the UK and, in recent years, more and more such groups have been established to look after Irish Rivers.  There are currently 10 active rivers trust in Ireland. These are:

  • The Bandon Rivers Trust (Cork)
  • The Blackwater River Trust( Cork)
  • The Inishowen Rivers Trust (Donegal)
  • The Erne Rivers Trust (Donegal)
  • The Waterville Lakes and Rivers Trust (Kerry)
  • The Nore Suir River Trust (Kilkenny)
  • The Maigue Rivers Trust (Limerick)
  • The River Moy Trust (Mayo)
  • The Slaney River Trust (Wexford)
  • East Wicklow Rivers Trust (Wicklow)

Irish Rivers Trust Movement

The Irish Rivers Trust Movement is affiliated to “The Rivers Trust”, which is the umbrella group for Rivers Trusts across England, Wales and Ireland.  Scotland has a separate network of Rivers and Fisheries Trusts.

To find out more information about how to set up a Rivers Trust, please go to or contact Mark Horton (All Ireland Development Officer) on 00442886761515 or email  You could also contact the Waters and Communities Office on

Funding for Community Involvement

There are many sources of funding available to local communities which can be used to develop river related and other environmental projects. These include:

The Community Water fund: Grants ranging from €500 to €25,000, are available from the Local Authority Waters Programme for communities to deliver water, biodiversity, and climate action initiatives. Go to for more information.

The Community Environmental Action Fund

The Community Environment Action Fund was created to promote sustainable development by supporting small-scale environmental projects at local level. Communities and local groups work with local authorities to take action across areas like water, biodiversity, climate change, air and waste.

Local authorities co-fund successful projects with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. Funding can also come from other sources, like the private sector, in order to make the projects more successful.  Further details can be found of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications website.

Community Enhancement Programme

Arts Council and Creative Ireland cultural events can be a really positive way of engaging people around environmental issues and demonstrating the links between the different aspects of our heritage and culture. So much of our music, songs and stories have our rivers and lakes as their theme, giving a rich resource to draw from in organising such events.

The ‘Waters of LIFE’ project team will be organising meetings and community engagement events so watch this space to learn more about how you can get involved.