A fourth protected habitat is confirmed for Rathcoole: Hydrophilous Tall Herb Community. The Hydrophilous Tall Herb Community area is small and fragmented. It occurs in pockets within the Woodland with a particular presence noted at the Woodlands northern edge bordering Rathcoole estates where the access road is proposed.
The habitat was first noted as a possibility by Wilson and Denyer in their report for South Dublin County Council. Two notes have been written since and the habitat surveyed and confirmed by Hodd in 2023.
According to Denyer and Hodd (2022), “These wetland habitats are likely to be hydrologically and ecologically linked. For this reason, any proposed development at this site must include a full assessment of the Annex I habitat Hydrophilous tall herb communities and its connection to the Annex I priority habitat Alluvial woodland. This is of particular relevance in the northern part of the site where the Alluvial woodland grades into potential Hydrophilous tall herb communities in seasonally wet ground close to the boundary of the site.“
Hodd (2023) notes:
“This habitat typically occurs as small and fragmentary stands, with only a small overall area present across Ireland, so even the smallest fragment is of conservation importance…it is an important part of the overall matrix of habitats present at this site ….”
Once more highlighting the importance of the wetlands and the mosaic of habitats, of no less than four protected habitats, that are subjected to the SDCC Land Use Concept May 2023.