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Special Areas of Conservation

Lough Melvin

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Northern Ireland
Unitary Authority Northern Ireland
Centroid* G921532
Latitude 54.4272
Longitude -8.1219
SAC EU Code UK0030047
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 517.98
* This is the approximate central point of the SAC. In the case of large, linear or composite sites, this may not represent the location where a feature occurs within the SAC.
Location of Lough Melvin SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (79%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (14%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (7%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site (PDF <100kb)

Note When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Lough Melvin is a large mesotrophic lough that represents oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters in Northern Ireland. The north-east corner of the lough is in Fermanagh but the majority lies in Leitrim in the Republic of Ireland. It is the least-disturbed of the large loughs of Northern Ireland, the other sites having suffered from eutrophication and hydrological manipulation. The macrophyte flora is typical of a mesotrophic lake with affinities to oligotrophic waters. The flora is indicative of high water quality and is characterised by quillwort Isoetes lacustris, shoreweed Littorella uniflora, water lobelia Lobelia dortmanna, alternate water-milfoil Myriophyllum alterniflorum and a variety of pondweeds, including various-leaved pondweed Potamogeton gramineus, perfoliate pondweed P. perfoliatus and bright-leaved pondweed P. x nitens, which are widespread. The Lough also supports important native fish populations. Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus occurs here at its only remaining Northern Ireland site and the Lough contains three genetically distinct populations of brown trout Salmo trutta fario.

  • Lough Melvin is one of two sites representing Molinia meadows in Northern Ireland. This site contains diverse examples of M24 Molinia caeruleaCirsium dissectum fen-meadow, ranging from Molinia-dominated swards with black bog-rush Schoenus nigricans to very herb-rich swards managed as hay meadows. The former grades to wet heath and scrub communities whilst the latter forms mosaics with other species-rich grassland types. Meadow thistle Cirsium dissectum is one of the most characteristic species of this habitat. More notably, blue-eyed grass Sisyrinchium bermudiana also occurs.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.