The Intel Ireland manufacturing campus in Leixlip, County Kildare, comprises 350 acres, of which 150 acres is used by industry. The balance of 200 acres is a mixture of amenity, residential and agricultural areas. Since setting up in the area, we’ve taken an active interest in preserving and improving the Rye River Valley where the site is located.
The River Rye flows through the back of the Leixlip site. The Rye is a tributary of the famous River Liffey, which flows through Dublin city, and which the Rye joins near Leixlip. The Rye is the only significant salmon spawning and nursery stream in the Liffey catchments, downstream of Leixlip dam. Today, the river is a big attraction for game fishing and is home to the Leixlip Anglers. But it wasn't always like this. In the early 1990’s, the Rye was so overgrown with weeds from heavy silting that its natural fish habitat had been destroyed. Only a few salmon spawning beds had managed to survive the problems of silting and bankside erosion.
In 1994, Intel sponsored a major revitalisation of the River Rye. To maximise the Rye’s potential as a natural salmon and trout habitat, Intel worked with the Zoology Department in University College Dublin (UCD), Central Fisheries Board and the Office of Public Works.
With funding from Intel, UCD continues to monitor progress and developments in the River Rye. The extensive database on the physical and environmental features of the river, which UCD had gathered both before and during the enhancement project in 1994, are used to assess the impact of the changes that were carried out. Indications are that fish numbers have increased significantly.
Biodiversity in the River Rye
Last year, Business in the Community chose Intel as winners in the environment section of their awards, for ‘Biodiversity in the River Rye’. This case study was selected as it not only highlights best practices in the area of biodiversity but recognises the tremendous work, input, effort and energy dedicated to make corporate responsibility a reality.
A team of interested people meet five times throughout the year to discuss the health of the river and plan areas for improvement. As a result of their meetings, a further enhancement project took place in 2005 and 2006 during which spawning beds were constructed at designated points on the river. The group is made up of representatives from Intel, Leixlip District Angling Association, the Water Balif, the Central Fisheries Board, Kildare County Council, Ryevale Residents Association, Zoology Department UCD and Leixlip Town Council.