News Release

14 March 2012


Focus on Water as Third Phase of Tellus Border Gets Underway

-          Stream and Sediment Sampling Begins in Louth in March

Streams and sediments of the border region will be the focus of attention over the next few months as the third and final phase of the EU INTERREG IVA-funded Tellus Border Project gets underway in County Louth.

With soil sampling complete and only a few months of the airborne survey remaining, the stream and sediment survey marks a significant milestone for the team of experts responsible for this highly significant geological mapping project. 

A joint initiative between the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, the Tellus Border Project will map the entire border region and seamlessly join the results with environmental data already collected in Northern Ireland as part of the Tellus Project (2004-2007). Water does not stop at borders and this significant cross-border collaboration ensures a harmonised approach to the challenging task of understanding and managing the water environment in the border region.

Meath-based OCAE Consultants have been appointed to conduct the water and sediment survey, which will provide comprehensive information on the natural chemistry of the water environment. The company’s team of agricultural scientists, many of whom are from the border region, will start in County Louth in March and will work westwards over the next 3 months, aiming to finish in Co Donegal in the summer. The survey will involve the agri-scientists working in teams of two, collecting one water and one sediment sample at each site. Over the duration of the programme field teams will take up to 3,500 samples across an area of 12,000km2, seeking permission from landowners on the day of sampling.

Ray Scanlon, Senior Geologist with the Geological Survey of Ireland said:

“This marks another significant milestone for the Tellus Border project.  To date we have made great progress which is due to the co-operation of many people, not least the farmers and land-owners who have opened their land to our team, enabling them to sample across this diverse and geologically distinct region.

“We have been conducting a widespread outreach programme to raise awareness of Tellus Border as our aim is to cause minimum inconvenience. Our team carry full identification and their vehicles are branded with the Tellus Border logo so landowners can by fully assured of their authenticity.”

An extensive awareness-raising campaign, involving community groups, farming and equine organisations and other relevant parties is currently underway. Anyone requiring further detail about the project can contact the Tellus Border information line on freephone 1800 303 516 or email


For further information contact Claire Bonner/Seona McGrath, Morrow Communications, Tel: 01 6689887, email or see the project website

Notes for Editors

·         The cross-border Tellus Border project has been funded by the INTERREG IVA development programme of the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) in Northern Ireland, the border Region of Ireland and western Scotland. This is the largest of the latest awards under the Environment theme of INTERREG IVA and is part funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and Northern Ireland’s Department of the Environment.

·         The project is a joint initiative between the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), the Dundalk Institute of Technology and Queen’s University Belfast and builds on the award-winning Tellus Project which has already successfully mapped Northern Ireland. Data collected during both surveys will be integrated with the existing data to give a cross border geological baseline.

·         ‘Tellus’ was the Roman goddess of the earth, also called Terra Mater

·         The aircraft being used in the survey is a white, twin propeller plane with a distinctive red tail and blue stripe, and it carries the registration number of C-GSGF.

·         The plane will fly during daylight hours, seven days a week.

·         OCAE Consultants Limited, agri-environmental consultancy, is conducting the soil sampling survey on behalf of the Geological Survey of Ireland.


• The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IV designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.

• The INTERREG IVA 2007-2013 Programme is worth €256 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders. It has two distinct priority measures to create co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable cross-border region.

• For more information on the SEUPB please visit