Following the recent establishment of a collaborative project between The Rivers Trust and The Woodland Trust Northern Ireland that has the ambition to plant 70 hectares of new woodland, wooded areas, and riparian strips (100,000 trees) per year across selected catchments in Northern Ireland, a new position of Woodlands for Water Officer has been created.
The Rivers Trust All-Ireland Director Mark Horton said: “We will be commencing our joint project with The Woodlands Trust Northern Ireland soon, and we are now seeking the right person to take up the Woodlands for Water Officer role to help deliver this significant project.”
In an era of increasing environmental agricultural awareness and the urgent need to protect our natural resources, the role of a Woodlands for Water Officer has emerged as a critical guardian of the delicate balance between trees and water systems. These dedicated individuals play a pivotal role in safeguarding the health of our woodlands and vital water resources.
Their primary responsibility is to manage and protect woodlands to ensure the conservation and enhancement of water quality. They work closely with governmental agencies, conservation organisations, farmers and landowners to implement strategies that promote sustainable land use and forest management practices.
“This exciting role comes at a time of expansion for The Rivers Trust on the island of Ireland, and the successful candidate will join an experienced and dedicated team to help deliver real solutions to issues such as flooding and biodiversity loss,” Mark said.
One of the crucial tasks performed by Woodland for Water Officers is identifying prospective landowners and partners with land suitable for tree planting, creating opportunities to expand tree cover in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.
They will then help landowners access grants for woodland creation and management, collate data on carbon offset/storage potential per catchment/year, and explore how to develop tree/woodland carbon storage calculations at a farm scale. Through comprehensive data collection and analysis, Woodlands for Water Officers identify areas where interventions are necessary to mitigate risks, restore habitats, and improve water quality.
Preserving and restoring riparian zones is another vital aspect of their work. Riparian zones are the areas along the banks of rivers and streams where woodlands meet water. These areas serve as natural filters, preventing erosion and acting as buffers against pollutants entering water bodies. Woodlands for Water Officers develop and implement plans to rehabilitate riparian zones by planting the right tree in the right place. These efforts enhance water quality and create important habitats for aquatic and terrestrial species.
Education and outreach programs are also key components of their work. Woodlands for Water Officers organise workshops, training sessions, and community events to engage the public in understanding the significance of woodlands in water conservation. They strive to inspire a sense of ownership and stewardship among individuals, empowering them to make informed decisions and take actions that protect our precious water resources.
Mark concluded: “Collaboration lies at the heart of this Woodlands for Water Officer's role. They will need to work closely with landowners, farmers, contractors and local communities, providing guidance and support to promote sustainable land practices. They will be supported by our experienced Farm Advisors in The Rivers Trust and in the local rivers trusts to integrate tree planting opportunities into over 300 existing farm-scale management plans and further new plans being developed. By fostering partnerships, they raise awareness about the interdependence between woodlands and water resources, encouraging responsible land management that protects both the environment and livelihoods.”
If you have a minimum of four years relevant experience in developing native woodland creation, tree planting projects, and woodland/tree maintenance or an HND/Degree level qualification in one or more of the following: woodland, forestry, land, or farm management; environmental science or environmental management, agriculture, AND one year's relevant experience in successfully carrying out developing native woodland creation, tree planting projects, and woodland/tree maintenance, apply now.