The first objective of the Modiolus Restoration Plan is to identify, map and introduce total protection for the Modiolus reefs that remain in Strangford Lough. To meet this objective the MRRG is working on three different aspects:
- Establishing the historical range of Modiolus modiolus in the Lough. All existing historical data related to Modiolus and the associated faunal assemblages in Strangford Lough has been collected by the MRRG team, developing an extensive geodatabase within a Geographical Information System (ArcGIS). This will facilitate the restoration efforts by specifically targeting which areas within the Lough should be restored.
- Broad Scale Survey. In order to judge the extent of damage to Modiolus biogenic reefs, areas of pristine and damaged habitat and areas where Modiolus no longer occurs need to be accurately documented. Using a VideoRay Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) the historical range of Modiolus modiolus is currently being surveyed
- Reef boundary mapping. Paired divers equipped with USBL (ultra short baseline) acoustic reference systems swim the boundaries of the Modiolus biogenic reefs, aided by DPVs (diver propulsion vehicles) to cover long distances if neccessary. The collected data are directly imported into GIS software to produce an accurate map of the remaining horse mussel reefs of Strangford Lough.
Historic and current distribution maps of M. modiolus in Strangford Lough can be downloaded from documents the section.