A new project that will restore populations of the critically endangered freshwater pearl mussel has been launched in South Kerry.
The KerryLIFE project is worth an estimated €3.8m to the local economy.
It is a partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Teagasc, Coillte and the South Kerry Development Partnership, coordinated by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Around 50 farmers in the Glencar and Blackwater areas are participateing in the KerryLIFE project that will run until 2019.
It aims to restore populations by delivering sustainable land use management for the conservation of the freshwater pearl mussel.
The project will work closely with local communities and the farming and forestry sectors in the area.
A team of four, based at the Glencar Community Centre, has been working full-time on the project since the beginning of the year.
They are preparing farm and forestry management plans that will be implemented later this year.
Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan, who was involved in the project since its inception, said the environment was critical to our quality of life and development needed to happen in a sustainable way that would protect our natural habitats.
He thanked farmers, landowners, schools and communities for their support and co-operation.