World Wetlands Week

Heritage Lottery FundComing Saturday, 02 February, is World Wetlands Day. This is part of World Wetland Week, which runs from 01-05 February.


World Wetlands Day 2 February 2013 –

Although these days every week seems to have been nominated for a particular theme, I nevertheless thought it important to draw your attention to this one. On this day 42 years ago the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, known as the Ramsar Convention was adopted. The Ramsar Convention has as its mission “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”. The main aim for individual governments is to maintain the ecological character of designated wetlands and to plan for their “wise use”, or sustainable use.

The Ouse Washes forms the majority of the Ouse Washes LP area, as can be seen in this map. The Ouse Washes (designated Ramsar site) forms one of the UK’s most important wetland areas, so dramatically photographed as seen in my previous post.

The site is designated as it is one of the most extensive areas of seasonally-flooding washland of its type in Britain.The site also supports a diverse assemblage of nationally rare breeding waterfowl associated with seasonally-flooding wet grassland. In addition, the Ouse Washes holds relict fenland fauna, including the British Red Data Book species large darter dragonfly Libellula fulva and the rifle beetle Oulimnius major. The site also supports several nationally scarce plants. Further reasons why the Ouse Washes are designated can be found in this document.

Ouse Washes - aerial view towards Welney

Ouse Washes seen from the air, looking north towards Welney

The Ouse Washes is one of England’s 71 internationally designated Ramsar sites. Look here for an overview of all Ramsar sites in England. Further information about the criteria to understand why these sites are designated can be found here.

So, what’s happening on World Wetlands Day in the Ouse Washes? Of course, the RSPB reserves at Fen Drayton, Ouse Fen and Ouse Washes can always be visited, but a specific programme has been set up at the Wildfowl & Wetland’s Trust’s Welney Wetland Centre. For Welney’s full-day programme for this Saturday, look here. Activities are planned throughout the day, and include wild swan feeds, walks with the warden to see brown hares, a sustainability tour of the visitor centre, and a wetland-themed poetry workshop. See you there!

Ouse Washes - Flooded

Flooded Ouse Washes, Spring 2012