World Wetlands Day 2001: New Zealand

03/02/2001

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World Wetlands Day in Waikato

2 February 2001

Hello Ramsar. Happy World Wetlands Day.

We think Environment Waikato hosted possibly the first World Wetlands Day 2001 celebration in the world. Around seven and a half hours ago (that was 7.30 NZ time) we held a breakfast function to launch our new web site on Freshwater Wetlands in our region of New Zealand's North Island (see web address below).

We also presented the awards for our Winning Wetlands Competition - to find the best privately owned wetlands in our Region. One of our winners had set aside and fenced 97 ha of healthy peat and sedgeland. Another had created a small but stunning wetland from a jungle of willow infestation (non-native in New Zealand).

We are a Regional Government (second tier level of government) with responsibilities for environmental management of water quality and quantity, soil protection, and integrated management of environmental issues of regional importance (including biodiversity). We use education and advocacy as one of our tools to maintain and enhance biodiversity.

The Waikato Region is one of New Zealand's wetland strongholds, we host 3 of the 5 RAMSAR sites in NZ (Whangamarino, Kopouatai, and Firth of Thames). While wetlands have been reduced by about 90% nationwide, in the Waikato we have retained 25% of the pre-European extent (a mere 160 years ago!).

Please have a look at our web site and send us any feedback.

http://www.ew.govt.nz/ourenvironment/water/wetlands/index.htm

Sincerely

Karen Denyer
Environment Waikato
karen.denyer@wairc.govt.nz

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,181 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,545,658

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