Ramsar Study Tour to Swiss Ramsar sites, May 2002


 Ramsar Bureau Study Tour

Saturday, 11 May 2002

Visit to the Ramsar Sites at Lake Neuchâtel

Possibly you've missed the first part of this tour, called "the southwest end", and if so, none of the rest will make any sense at all, so you are advised earnestly to start over with the introductory bits before proceeding further. Which, in fact, is always good advice.

Having journeyed along the southeast coast of Switzerland's Lac de Neuchâtel through a rainy morning, and then dined fine on apparently genuine Lac de Neuchâtel fish, etc., for lunch in Estavayer-le-lac, the intrepid Ramsar staff and friends proceed to the second Ramsar site on the lake, called "Baie du Fanel et Le Chablais". The biggest extent of swampy thing in Switzerland. Still sort of raining.

La Sauge is an ancient toll station, recently renovated and turned into an hotel along the canal between Lacs Neuchâtel and Morat (Murten), at the edge of the Ramsar site of Fanel and also the home of a separate information centre of BirdLife Switzerland and a private bio-farm which supplies the Highland cattle. Talk about synergies.

Here's the postcard view of the pith and substance of the matter: the La Sauge hotel, BirdLife information centre, and private bio-farm are there in the lower right, with the Morat canal on the left. The foreground lakes are created and belong to BirdLife's nature and birdwatching tour, intended in part to relieve visitor pressure from the Ramsar site itself which extends out to the lake shore and a bit beyond. The fine city of Neuchâtel can be seen on the far shore.

At the BirdLife visitors' centre, Werner Müller and his colleague explain to Ramsar staff and friends the management strategies for the site.

Werner Mueller explains the evolution of the area, the site, the canal, and the La Sauge station for the edification of Ramsar staff.

From left: Jacqueline Shahanian of IUCN and her friend from Paris, Carmen Revenga from WRI, Jia Ma, Annette Keller, Julio Montes de Oca, and somebody reeling backwards from Mr Müller's enthusiastic gesticulations.

Ramsar staff members in front of the famous bio-farm, which provides Highland cattle for the grazing management thing, when it wants to.

In BirdLife's La Sauge observation hide, Paulette Kennedy, Carmen Revenga, Annette Keller, and Keith Kennedy benefit in important non-tangible ways from the presence of a rare goldthing preening itself upon a bough across the pond. Something seldom seen here.

Or perhaps they were just watching the Highland cattle stuck in the mud.

OOOHH! Highland cows stuck in the mud! LOOK at that, will you?

The staff of the Ramsar Bureau express, once again, their most profound thanks to Tobias Salathé for having organized this Ramsar study tour (we bought him a nut cake, one of his favorites, a Swiss Grisons specialty), and this time most especially to Christophe Le Nédic and Werner Mueller, who gave up their Saturday to lead us through the bogs.

Photos by Sandra Hails and Tobias Salathé.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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