This is an area of special scientific interest because of the breeding waders and for the quality of the wetland vegetation, which includes a number of uncommon plant species. The site boundary extends into the lake which is one of the finest large, shallow eutrophic lakes in Northern Ireland.
The site has been identified as the best lowland breeding wader site in the Erne basin, and the second most important site in Northern Ireland, with 1% of breeding snipe, and nearly 2% of breeding redshank. Other regular breeding birds include lapwing, curlew and shoveler. Wintering birds include large flocks of whooper swans, wigeon and curlew.
The lough shore vegetation is dominated by common reed and bulrush. Behind the swamp is a broad band of tall fen, in which bottle sedge and bladder sedge predominate, with a wide range of associated species including cowbane, flowering rush, greater spearwort and water dock .
The current land management of low intensity grazing and hay-making has resulted in the retention of species rich marsh and fen meadow grassland over most of the site. The species-rich marsh is characterised by the predominance of creeping bent and soft rush over a brown moss carpet. The fen meadow consists mostly of tall sedges such as common sedge and bottle sedge.
A number of scarce plant species occur including greater water parsnip, marsh stitchwort, needle spike rush, buckthorn , wood club-rush and marsh pea.
- ASSI Guidance for Public Bodies/Competent Authorities
- Coastal Areas of Special Scientific Interest
- Conservation Management Plans for Northern Ireland’s Special Areas of Conservation
- European Marine Sites - Marine Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas
- Management of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
- Marine Conservation Zones
- Marine Protected Areas
- Marine Ramsar sites
- Portrush Coastal Zone
- Special Areas of Conservation
- Special Areas of Conservation for Harbour porpoise
- Special Protection Areas