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Natural Heritage

Waterford has a wide variety of landscapes, characterised by the River Suir, the Comeragh Mountains, several south-flowing river systems and a rugged coastline with many coves and beaches.

The diversity of landscapes and natural heritage within the county enables views and prospects of areas of natural beauty from many public roads.

There are a number of diverse habitats found in Waterford. Some habitats are of national importance and are recognised through designation as Natural Heritage Areas or proposed Natural Heritage Areas (pNHAs). Other habitats are of European Importance and are designated Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for their habitat or plant/animal species value or Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birdlife.

In addition to designated sites there are many other important sites for wildlife such as wetlands, woodlands, and hedgerows. A number of mammals and fish species protected under European legislation occur in Waterford rivers and coastal areas. These include Salmon, Lamprey, Shad, Freshwater Pearl Mussel, White-Clawed Crayfish, Otter, Seals, Whales and Dolphins.

Find out more on Waterford's wildlife here Natural Heritage of Tramore

Waterford has a natural and rich heritage consisting of plants, animals and their habitats. If you spot anything unusual, please contact the Heritage Officer.

What laws protect our Natural Heritage?

The EU Birds and Habitats Regulations 2011 and the Wildlife Act 1976 as amended in 2000, guide the protection for Ireland’s nature and wildlife and  is the remit of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Many sites are protected for nature conservation and in Waterford we have  nine Special Areas of Conservation – SACs and six Special Protection Areas -SPAs.

Find out more here

Activities in these sites  may require consent from either Waterford City and County  Council if they are defined as Development under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) or from the National Parks and Wildlife Service if they are defined as activities requiring consent. 

Activities Requiring Consent

Other sites protected for their nature and wildlife value include Proposed Natural Heritage Areas and wetlands of Local Biodiversity Interest. These are listed in the Waterford City and County Development Plan 2022-2028. 

Natural Heritage
What laws protect our Natural Heritage?

Wildlife sightings?

The National Biodiversity Data Centre is the national repository  for biological records in IrelandYou can contribute to the national dataset by submitting your wildlife observations.

Submit Sightings Here

Useful Contacts and Resources


What to do if you find an injured bat? How to ensure your lighting scheme doesn’t interfere with bat activity? Getting involved in surveying bats?

Contact Bat Conservation Ireland


Conservation measures to help Barn Owls and Swifts, contribute to local bird surveys.

Contact Bird Watch Ireland


Tree felling requires a felling licence from the Forest Service.

Trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) and listed in the Waterford City and County Development Plan 2022-2028.

Apply for Licence

What funding schemes are available to support projects on Nature and Wildlife?

Local Biodiversity Action Plan Fund

Administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Contact your local heritage officer for details.

Heritage Council Community Heritage Grant scheme

Community Foundation Ireland

Waterford Area Leader Partnership

Climate Action Fund


Nature and Wildlife Projects for 2023 include a Brent Geese Tagging Project in Dungarvan, Barn Owl Survey of Co. Waterford, Ardmore Head SAC Grazing Project and Control of Cord Grass on Tramore Back Strand.