World Wetlands Day 2001: Belgium

06/02/2001

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Dear Colleagues

With great pleasure we can announce that the Flemish Minister of the Environment Mrs. Vera DUA has decided to designate 3 new wetlands in Flanders for the Ramsar List. This operation will be combined with the completion of the Habitat Directive requirements next June. The exact boundaries and area must still be specified by the Institute of Nature Conservation.

The announcement by the Minister took place at the occasion of the World Wetland Day 2001; the 3 sites are:

- 'Bourgoyen' (freshwater marsh and wet grassland area near Ghent with important waterbird concentrations and diverse vegetation types)

- 'Vijvergebied Midden Limburg' (complex of ponds and marshes in the central part of the province of Limburg with rare and endangeres reeds breeding birds, Amphibians and other freshwater ecosystem components)

- 'Oostkustpolders' (complex of wet grasslands in the region between Damme, Bruges and Ostend, with important goose wintering areas, breeding meadowbirds, locally with rare brackish habitats)

In the National Reports since Brisbane [COP6, 1996], we have reported about these and other potential Ramsar sites. The recommendation in favour of wet grasslands as priority habitats (COP Costa Rica) seems to have already its positive impact!

As soon as we have more details we fulfill the necessary obligations.

With kind regards,

prof. dr. Eckhart Kuijken, general director, Ramsar focal point, Institute of Nature Conservation, Kliniekstraat 25 B-1070 BRUSSELS (Belgium) tel: + 32.2.5581811 fax: + 32.2.5581803 website: www.instnat.be e-mail: eckhart.kuijken@instnat.be

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