A SPECIAL screening of the film ‘River Runner’ will be held to celebrate World Water Day on Sunday March 22nd in the Bantry Cinemax.
The movie explores the demise of the Wild Atlantic Salmon due to the construction of two hydro electric dams in Cork in the 1950s.
In preparation for the construction of the second dam at Carrig an Droichead – one of Ireland’s most unique ecological features – an inland forest delta was completely clear-felled. This very special ecological gem was one of only four in the world.
It was the pristine perfect spawning ground for the thousands of returning wild Atlantic salmon.
It also had hundreds of thousands of clusters of fresh water pearl mussels carried by the returning salmon.
And, due to its shaded tree coverage, and inaccessible nature home to a most unique fresh water sponge, there was a diversity of wild bird, beaver and otter families in this special habitat. In recent times there has been a noticeable drop in the water level in The Gearagh, near Macroom, according to the film’s director Declan O’Mahony.
‘This, as described in detail in the film, is allowing the wooded islands to grow back,’ he told the Star this week.
‘We have had no official contact or confirmation yet from the responsible authorities,’ he added, ‘but our ecology expert Kevin Corcoran, who lives on the periphery of The Gearagh, and has campaigned for its preservation and protection for over thirty years, has confirmed my own sightings.’
Mr O’Mahony says the ecologist told him that there had been plenty of rain in the valley over the past weeks and, in all his years, he had never seen the level of water so low and the profusion of growth on the tiny islands that are reemerging over the past months.
‘If this is as a result of the ESB dropping the water level at the second reservoir, it is the first step to a successful result and a triumph for nature,’ added Mr O’Mahony.
The film will be shown at 8pm on the night, with inputs from the director, Declan O’Mahony, and contributions from Alan Nolan and Kevin Corcoran. Mark Boyden, Coomhola Salmon Trust and chairperson, Sustainable Water Network, will also participate.