The Outer Ards site extends from Grey Point on the north Down coast, to Ballyquintin Point in the south. The site mainly encompasses the intertidal areas, but with some additional adjoining areas of notable habitat. It includes sand and mud dominated shores, cobble and boulder beaches together with rocky shores. Offshore islands are also present.
Adjoining habitat includes areas of dune and maritime grassland, maritime heath and cliff ledge vegetation, saltmarsh, tidal and non-tidal fens and wet flushes. Some areas still display the natural transition from maritime to terrestrial vegetation, where a number of notable communities occur. At least 17 rare or local plant species have been recorded across the range of habitats within the area.
The boundary of the Ramsar site is entirely coincident with the Outer Ards Area of Special Scientific Interest together with the Ballymacormick Point ASSI. This site has been selected for designation as a Ramsar site because of its important breeding and wintering populations of waterfowl. The principal interests are the wintering populations of light-bellied brent goose, golden plover, turnstone and ringed plover.
The Outer Ards is a Wetland of International Importance because it qualifies under Criterion 6 for regularly supporting 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird in any season.
- Appointment of Deputy Chair and up to 16 Board Members to the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC)
- ASSI Guidance for Public Bodies/Competent Authorities
- Coastal Areas of Special Scientific Interest
- Conservation and protection enforcement programme
- Conservation Management Plans for Northern Ireland’s Special Areas of Conservation
- Ecological Surveys
- European Marine Sites - Marine Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas
- Financial administrative penalties
- Fishing licence points system for serious infringements of the enforcement programme
- Management of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
- Mandatory recording of marine mammal bycatch
- Marine Conservation Zones
- Marine historic environment
- Marine Protected Areas
- Marine Ramsar sites
- Monitoring marine habitats and species
- Outline Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)
- Portrush Coastal Zone
- Special Areas of Conservation
- Special Areas of Conservation for Harbour porpoise
- Special Protection Areas