Portumna, Lough Derg, and several areas in the surrounding landscape, are designated for nature conservation both as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and a Special Protection Areas (SPAs). This designation reflects the huge significance of the natural heritage in this area. SACs and SPAs are part of the Natura 2000 network of sites across Europe, which are considered to be the most important sites for nature conservation across the European Union. SACs are designated on the basis of containing species and habitats of nature conservation importance because they are rare internationally, declining or under threat e.g. Otters and bogs. SPAs are designated because they contain birds of conservation concern and their habitats e.g. waterbirds such as Tufted Duck and Goldeneye, and birds of prey such as Merlin and the Hen Harrier. The variety of habitats and abundance of species of conservation importance makes Lough Derg a jewel in the crown Ireland’s biodiversity resource. Whether you travel Lough Derg by boat or explore the many bays, woods, wetlands and uplands along the shoreline on foot, you are in the midst of a vibrant ecosystem that is teeming with life all year round. Lough Derg is a wonderful place to enjoy and experience nature, and is also an excellent destination for the specialist interested in seeing some of the rare and interesting species that can be found. Go explore!