Press Release: Local Authority Waters Programme and Mayo County Council to unveil artwork at Lough Mask in Mayo during Biodiversity Week

Local Authority Waters Programme and Mayo County Council to unveil artwork at Lough Mask in Mayo during Biodiversity Week

Wednesday 15th May 2024: The Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) in collaboration with Mayo County Council is launching an Arctic Char mosaic art piece by artist Annaliese Brown along with a new Mayo Blue Dots booklet and film.

The launch will take place at the beginning of national Biodiversity Week at Lough Mask on Saturday, 18th of May 2024. LAWPRO is a national shared service working on behalf of the 31 local authorities in Ireland coordinating efforts to achieve good or high water quality across the country.

Lough Mask is one of Ireland’s Blue Dots and also one of the remaining places that the native and rare arctic char remains. Blue Dots are high status objective waterbodies and there are 48 of these in County Mayo. When achieving this target, they have the highest ecological quality of all our waters and often a greater diversity of species that are sensitive to pollution.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Dr Bernadette White, Blue Dot Catchments Programme Manager at LAWPRO said: “We are looking forward to launching the Mayo Blue Dots mosaic, booklet and film to celebrate Mayo’s high-status objective waters. Lough Mask is iconic for arctic char and has one of the few populations left in Ireland of these species that date back to glacial times. It is important to mark these special waters that exist in Ireland and the diverse biodiversity they host.”

The mosaic will be unveiled at 11am at Lough Mask by Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council Cllr Michael Loftus. The film and booklet will be launched thereafter in Tourmakeady Community Centre (~ 12 noon) with copies of the booklet available for attendees.  Dr Fran Igoe of LAWPRO will give a keynote address on the rare species Arctic Char. There will be light refreshments available at the Community Centre.

For further information on the event please email Éanna Hyland, Community Water Officer for Mayo:


For media information:

Sadhbh O’Neill

Communications & Engagement Lead

Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO)


T: 085 8500409

Notes to the editor:

About Blue Dots

In recent decades, Ireland has seen a concerning decline in its high-quality waters, impacting sensitive aquatic species like salmon, trout, and freshwater pearl mussels. Ireland’s River Basin Management Plan prioritises safeguarding these waters, setting a high status water quality target for a network of sites around the country known as the Blue Dots. The percentage of high-quality sites dropped from 31.6% in 1987-1990 to 18.4% in 2019-2021, with Q5 sites, reflecting near natural conditions, plummeting to just 1.1%. Initiatives like the Blue Dot Catchments Programme (Blue Dot Programme – Local Authority Water Programme ( and Waters of Life Integrated Project (Waters of LIFE – Waters of Life) aim to reverse these trends.

Mayo is home to numerous Blue Dot Waters and particularly stands out for hosting the largest number of Q5 sites nationally, with the Aille, Bundorragha, Glenree, Glenummera, Owenmore (Mayo) and Yellow (Foxford) rivers all hosting 1 or more Q5 sites in 2021 totalling 28% of the national count. Protecting and restoring the Blue Dots relies heavily on community action. Collaborative efforts, including the involvement of local groups facilitated by programs like the Blue Dot Catchments Programme and the Local Authority Waters Programme, are crucial. This publication on Mayo’s Blue Dots aims to raise awareness and foster community involvement in safeguarding these vital water resources.

About Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO)

Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) works on behalf of Ireland’s 31 local authorities to protect and restore good water quality in our rivers, lakes, estuaries, ground and coastal water through catchment science and local community engagement. LAWPRO was established to fulfil requirements under the European Union Water Framework Directive and is funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. LAWPRO coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan.