The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 1 October 2001

Australia names its 57th Ramsar site. The Bureau is pleased to announce that the Commonwealth of Australia has designated its 57th Ramsar site, as of 29 August 2001: the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands (261 hectares, 38°04’S 145°07’E) comprises two separate wetlands near Melbourne, including both freshwater and brackish lakes (types P, Q, R), both with similar morphology and ecological characteristics and both under an extensive rehabilitation and management regime by Melbourne Water. They are of exceptional significance as examples of cost-effective management of wetlands in an urban setting to provide conservation benefits, manage storm water, and encourage environmental research and education. The site meets Criteria 1 on uniqueness and 2 on support for vulnerable species, and surpasses the 1% threshold for Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (Calidris acuminata). Both wetlands remained after the draining of the once extensive Carrum Carrum Swamp in the 1860s, but additional local draining and encroachments by farming and grazing have continued into this century. In recent decades active flooding has been pursued through management intervention; in the 1980s ingress of saline groundwater resulted in brackish rather than fresh water in the artificial components of the site, but pumping from nearby creeks is returning the site to a freshwater system. A management plan and birdwatching facilities are in place, and education programmes are run by a local NGO. [01/10/01]

Sanbanze landfill cancelled. Following his visit to Sanbanze mudflats on Tokyo Bay, 2 September, Secretary General Delmar Blasco met with the Governor of Chiba Prefecture, Ms Akiko Domoto, and discussed the situation there. Now Maggie Suzuki of Japan Wetlands Action Network reports: "On September 26th, Governor Domoto of Chiba prefecture announced in the Chiba Prefectural Assembly that the remaining 101 hectares of landfill planned at Sanbanze tidal flat in Tokyo Bay were cancelled. Governor Domoto had promised to 'clean slate' landfill development at Sanbanze when she was elected Governor in April this year, but this announcement finally constituted the actual cancellation of two projects, one in Ichikawa and one in Funabashi, scaled down in 1999 from over 700 ha. of landfill. The announcement comes in the wake of a 'symposium' held by the Prefecture and attended by Gov. Domoto late last month, in which most of the twenty citizens invited to give an opinion opposed the remaining landfill projects. Delmar Blasco, Secretary-General of the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, visited the site on Sept. 2nd, and the Japan Wetlands Action Network held its annual International Wetland Symposium in Ichikawa on Sept. 15-16. Local citizens' groups and non-governmental organizations are celebrating, after a battle to save this remnant natural tidal environment for 30 years. We extend our appreciation to all of you who have lent your cooperation and support over the years. Thank you! Most cordially, Maggie Suzuki, Japan Wetlands Action Network, International Liaison,". [27/09/01] 

Ramsar Advisory Mission to Mühlenberger Loch Ramsar site, Germany. On 23 January 2001 the Federal Republic of Germany informed the Ramsar Bureau of its wish to restrict the boundary of the Mühlenberger Loch Ramsar site, an extensive area of tidal mudflats on the Elbe River near Hamburg, in accordance with Article 2.5 of the Convention, and proposed compensatory measures as indicated in Article 4.2. In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety, the Ramsar Bureau is visiting the area 24-26 September in order, briefly put, to examine the manner in which the “urgent national interest” clause in Article 2.5 was invoked and study the compensation measures proposed. Accompanying Ramsar’s Dr Tobias Salathé on this 45th Ramsar Advisory Mission are an international legal expert, David Pritchard of BirdLife International, and an expert on mudflats ecology, Dr Mike Pienkowski, in addition to Dr Fritz Dieterich from the Federal Ministry, officials of the Hamburg Environment Authority, and representatives of the NABU/BUND NGO. The mission's terms of reference are available here, and the resulting report will be available in due course. [26/09/01]

Ramsar and climate change at Kushiro meeting. Because, owing to many previous commitments, the Ramsar Bureau was unable to participate in the International Workshop on Climate Change and Wetland Conservation, Kushiro, Japan, 20-21 September 2001, Dr Taej Mundkur of Wetlands International, one of the Convention's International Organization Partners, agreed to make a keynote workshop presentation on behalf of the Ramsar Convention, in addition to his own contributions to the meeting, and also to deliver this statement from the Secretary General to the high-level segment of the meeting -- "The Ramsar Convention, international cooperation, climate change and wetlands", a worthy text, is available here. In addition, at the same workshop, George Begg of ERISS (Australia's Environmental Institute of the Supervising Scientist) is offering a presentation of the Asian Wetland Inventory, which has been endorsed by Ramsar's Standing Committee, as a tool for monitoring climate change effects on Asian wetlands. [20/09/01]

Secretary General attends ceremonies for three enormous new sites in Bolivia. The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce that, at ceremonies attended by the Secretary General, Mr Delmar Blasco, in Santa Cruz on 17 September 2001, Bolivia has designated three new Ramsar sites, also to become Gifts to the Earth with the assistance of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Living Waters Campaign. Technical details will follow here soon, and in the meantime here is WWF’s press release in English, French, and Spanish. [18/09/01]

High altitude wetlands of Pakistan. Six fine photos contributed by WWF Pakistan, all taken by Hassan Zaki, illustrating a number of characteristic features of this wetland type. View them here. [14/09/01]

Ramsar Secretary General's visit to Japan.Tamako Tsukiji, Ramsar Center Japan, offers Ramsar readers this report: "Mr Delmar Blasco visited two tidal flat areas in Chiba Prefecture, which is located next to Tokyo, on 2nd September after his visit to another tidal flat area - Fujimae in Central Japan. According to newspaper articles, Mr Blasco has encouraged both the Nagoya City government and the Central Government to designate Fujimae as a Ramsar site." View the rest of her brief report, with her and additional photos of the Secretary General, mud flats, and Mayor Araki of Narashino City, right here. [13/09/01]

Wetland training course set for European former-Soviet states. Mr Karen Jenderedjian has passed on the details for the "Training Course on Wetland Management for Wetland Conservationists from the New Independent States of European Region", 9-23 September 2001, Sevan, Armenia. The course is intended for managers from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine: staff of central and regional state environmental bodies, nature reserves, NGOs, research institutes and universities, international organizations, business: total 19 participants, with financial support for the participants from the  Ramsar Small Grants Fund and the Royal Dutch Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. Further information and a few photos can be found here. [06/09/01]

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