The following provides information on a selection of organisations and projects working with, or focusing on, wetlands. These are just examples. There are many more organisations, some of which can be found through the websites given below.
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
WWT is the UK’s largest international wetland conservation charity. It manages around 2000 hectares of wetland bird reserves which include 6 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), 5 Special Protection Areas (SPA) and 5 Ramsar sites. Nine visitor centres are open to the public and welcome volunteers to assist with conservation work. The WWT also has a wetland advisory service which can assist land owners and voluntary groups to improve, restore or create a wetland.
A 50 year vision for England’s wetland landscape. The Wetland Vision is a partnership between the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, English Heritage, the Environment Agency and Natural England. The Wetland Vision sets out where new wetlands could be created and current wetlands restored over the next 50 years. The website includes maps and downloads and a section on ‘Managing Wetland Heritage – Maps and Advice’.
UK BAP, UK Biodiversity Action Plan
The UK BAP website ‘closed’ in May 2011 and the core content migrated into the JNCC website above. The original website has been archived, and can be found on the National Archives website:
A new body Natural England was launched in October 2006. This new organisation brought together the English Nature, the environment activities of the Rural Development Services and the Countryside Agency’s Landscape, Access and Recreation division. Natural England aims to conserve, enhance and manage the natural environment for the benefit of current and future generations.
Scottish Natural Heritage
Northern Ireland Environment Agency
Natural Resources Wales
perform similar functions to those of Natural England.
The RSPB manages a considerable area of wetland as bird reserves. It delivers its conservation work through direct action and through working with local authorities, landowners and other conservation groups to protect, improve, expand and reinstate bird habitats. It also comments on government policy which influences the environment and supports research to develop best practice and guidance documents for habitat management.
Information on wetlands can be found in several parts of the RSPB website including:
Water and Wetlands
This is not an exhaustive list and a search on the RSPB website will identify individual reserves and projects where wetlands feature.
Wetlands International is a global, non-profit organisation focused solely on wetland conservation and sustainable management. It has established networks of experts and close partnerships with key organisations in order to sustain and restore wetlands, their resources and biodiversity for future generations through research, information exchange and conservation activities, worldwide. It operates in over 120 countries.
The Wetlands International website contains a large resource of guidance documents, manuals and reports on all aspects of wetland conservation and management.Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitats (The Ramsar Convention) is an intergovernmental treaty that aims to stem the progressive encroachment on, and loss of, wetlands. Its original emphasis was primarily to provide habitat for waterbirds. However, over the years the Convention has broadened its scope to cover all aspects of wetland conservation and sustainable use, recognising wetlands as ecosystems that are extremely important for biodiversity conservation and for the well being of human communities.
The Convention was signed on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran and was ratified by the UK in 1976. The Convention now (2012) has 160 Contracting Parties around the World and 1,997 wetlands have been designated for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, covering over 192 million hectares.
Five non-governmental organisations work closely with the Ramsar Convention and are recognised as partner organisations.
IUCN - The World Conservation Union
IWMI – International Water Management Institute
UNESCO serves as Depository for the Convention, but it is administered by a secretariat known as the Ramsar Bureau, which is housed in the headquarters of IUCN - the World Conservation Union in Gland, Switzerland.
There are 169 Ramsar sites in the UK, totalling around 1,276,852 hectares.
The Ramsar website has an large number of useful handbooks and guidance documents, for example, Handbook 9 - River Basin Management, 2010.
Each year, 2nd February is World Wetlands Day (WWD). It marks the date of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997
Each year, government agencies, non-govern-mental organizations and groups of citizens at all levels of the community undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits, in general, and the Ramsar Convention in particular.
The Convention’s website reports from more than 80 countries on WWD activities of all sizes and shapes. They vary from lectures and seminars, nature walks, children’s art contests, sampan races, and community clean-up days, to radio and television interviews and letters to newspapers, to the launch of new wetland policies, new Ramsar sites and new programmes at the national level.
BTO was formed in 1932 and is an independent, non-campaigning, scientific research organisation which investigates the populations, movement and ecology of wild birds in the British Isles, focusing on data collection.
The BTO operates using professionals and volunteers and both in isolation and in co-operation with conservation agencies and universities. A summary of work undertaken in relation to wetlands can be found on their website.
The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is the scheme which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution and to identify important sites for waterbirds. WeBS is jointly run by the British Trust for Ornithology, The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
Birdwatch Ireland is concerned with the conservation and protection of Ireland’s birds and their habitats. It is a charity funded by annual membership subscriptions, donations, grants and sponsorship. Membership exceeds 10,000. Birdwatch maintains a network of 25 reserves across Ireland, many of which have wetland components.
Great Fen Project
The Great Fen Project aims to restore 3000 hectares of fenland habitat, primarily through linking Holme Fen and Woodwalton Fen National Nature Reserves in Huntingdonshire. The project, which commenced in 1999, is a partnership between the Environment Agency, Huntingdonshire District Council, Middle Level Commissioners, Natural England and the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
Woodwalton Fen is designated as a Ramsar site, because of the plants and invertebrates it supports and as a Special Area of Conservation, because it is an excellent example of purple moor grass meadow. Expansion of the fenland habitat will be achieved by land acquisition and modification of drainage patterns and management. In addition to conservation, the project also aims to improve flood protection of arable and urban areas in the region.
The WWF wants 250 million hectares of representative wetlands to be protected and sustainably managed by 2010. The WWF funds, implements and operates a large number of wetlands conservation projects and leads some world-significant river and floodplain restoration projects. Central to its approach is the theory of sustainable use and the need to maintain hydrological processes.
Read more about WWF’s activities concerning wetlands at the Wetlands pages on the WWF website.
A WWF study, reported in January 2004 (The Economic Values of the World's Wetlands), estimates that the economic value of wetlands are at least 70 US$ billion annually.
Wetlands Projects for Schools
A number of organisations offer schools project packages to look at wetlands in the classroom and to visit wetland sites. Some of these are listed below.
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust education site
WWT provides resources and briefing notes for everyone from government to the layperson. It also contains downloadable lesson packs, data files and factfiles designed for classroom and field use.
Wetland Link International
WLI is an organisation established in 2003 which aims to develop a global network of wetland education centres. The network defines a wetland education centre as, “any place where there is interaction between people and wildlife” and “CEPA (communications, education and public awareness) activity occurs in support of wetland conservation aims”.
The project is run from the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust in the UK, and has around 350 members across six continents.
U.S. EPA Wetlands Education website
The website has extensive links to activities, guides, education programs, teaching tools, etc.
Another US website, Ducks Unlimited, provides a variety of resources on wetland education. Three new units developed in wetland ecosystems series consists of an educator's guide and accompanying student journal, experiments, and activities.
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