Water - not an enemy but a misunderstood friend - World Wetlands Day

28 January 2016 | Posted in SWT News , Wetland
Water - not an enemy but a misunderstood friend - World Wetlands Day
Castle Water at Rye Harbour nature reserve / Barry Yates

Water – not an enemy but a misunderstood friend

As the effects of climate change start to impact all over the world, Sussex Wildlife Trust is committed to helping people understand the importance of wetlands as they play a vital role acting as ‘overflow storage’ for water which may otherwise flood nearby towns.

Sussex Wildlife Trust is hoping people will support World Wetlands Day on February 2nd by enjoying a visit to one of its specialist wetland nature reserves.

Wetlands are incredibly rich in life and they make a superb home for plants, birds and insects, including some of our elusive and endangered wildlife including the otter and water vole. But, they are just as important for people. They help protect us against flooding, replenish our drinking water stores, clean up pollution and store carbon dioxide.

Fran Southgate, Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Wetlands Officer, said ‘We need to rethink our approach to water and wetlands, seeing it not as an enemy but as a misunderstood friend. If we can make space for water in the right places in our landscapes, then we can protect people, enhance wildlife and still have enough water to go around. Ensuring that wetlands can still provide these essential services for people is vital, and it means that we cannot work in isolation.

‘Unfortunately wetlands are often viewed as wastelands. Recent floods have prompted further calls to ‘dredge all rivers and drain all the land’. Rivers that are dredged and canalized not only damage fishing and other livelihoods, but they rush water downstream and flood people further down river. Sussex is one of the most water stressed regions of Britain, and in summer the livelihoods of thousands will be adversely affected by drought if we carry out this kind of drainage.’

Sussex Wildlife Trust, a registered charity, is helping to protect some of our most iconic wetland landscapes. Rye Harbour nature reserve in the east and Amberley Wildbrooks in the west are important wildlife havens, beautiful places to visit, as well as places which help to buffer the effects of climate change.

For further information please visit: www.sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/flooding

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