France names four new Ramsar sites for World Wetlands Day

21/03/2003

France names four new Ramsar sites for World Wetlands Day

The Ministère de l'écologie et du développement durable, Direction de la nature et des paysages, has celebrated World Wetlands Day by designating four interesting new Wetlands of International Importance. The Bassin du Drugeon (5,988 ha) in the Franche-Comté near Pontarlier near the Swiss frontier; Etangs du Lindre, forêt du Romersberg et zones voisines (5,308 ha) in Lorraine, near Dieuze not far from Nancy; Lac du Bourget - Marais de Chautagne (5,500 ha) in the Rhône-Alpes region, between Geneva and Grenoble; and Marais du Fier d'Ars (4,452 ha) on the Atlantic island of Ré off the coast of La Rochelle.

Bassin du Drugeon. 02/02/03; Franche-Comté; 5,988 ha; 46°50'N 006°10'E. Proposed Site of Community Importance EC Directive. A peatland landscape complex in the Jura foothills with a rich variety of natural habitats including dry grasslands, alkaline moors, active mires, river floodplains, ponds and lakes. It holds important populations of threatened plants including Saxifraga hirculus, Liparis loeselii and Hamatocaulis vernicosus. Of conservation interest are the local populations of waterbirds, including corncrake Crex crex, spotted crake Porzana porzana, and snipe Gallinago gallinago, of the toads Alytes obstreticans and Bufo calamita, the newt Triturus cristatus, the rare butterfly Euphydryas aurinia, and a number of dragonflies. The Drugeon river course was restored in large parts during the 1990s with the help of European Union LIFE subsidies, including measures to improve its water quality, reduce water pollution, and make agricultural practices more environmentally friendly. The main land uses are agriculture and forestry, some hunting and fishing, cycling and walking, plus the beginnings of nature tourism benefiting from the newly established mire track. Ramsar site no. 1266

Etangs du Lindre, forêt du Romersberg et zones voisines. 02/02/03; Lorraine; 5,308 ha; 48°47'N 006°48'E. Regional Nature Park (in part), proposed Special Protection Area and Site of Community Importance EC Directives. A complex of shallow lakes, marshes, reedbeds, mires, small rivers and associated forests, pastures, hedgerows, and cultivated areas that provide a variety of habitats. Small continental salt grasslands are of particular biodiversity value. The forest contains many rare plant species and an important population of wild cat Felis silvestris. The lakes serve as important moulting areas for shoveler Anas clypeata and as breeding and wintering sites for many other waterbirds. Non-intensive fish farming, hunting and nature tourism are the main human uses besides agriculture and forestry. Each year, a popular event celebrates the annual fish harvest in the lakes. Ramsar site no. 1267.

Lac du Bourget - Marais de Chautagne. 02/02/03; Rhône-Alpes; 5,500 ha; 45°44'N 005°51'E. Proposed Special Protection Area and Site of Community Importance EC Directives. One of the largest French Alpine lakes (4,500 ha). Apart from the lakeside town Aix-les-Bains, more than half of the lake shores remain natural, either rocky or covered with reedbeds (stretching along 11 km shoreline). Tourism and leisure activities are important, but restricted to specific lake areas only. Adjoining the lake outlet are the Chautagne marshes and peatbogs. The submerged lake vegetation and animal communities are very well developed and in good condition. During winter, and especially during cold spells, the lake harbours more than 20,000 waterbirds that also use the nearby part of the Rhône river, including up to 16,000 pochard Aythya ferina (Criterion 6). Bourget lake provides an important spawning area for the fish Coregonus lavaretus (one of the two French top sites), Salvelinus alpinus and Lota lota. Ramsar site no. 1268.

Marais du Fier d'Ars. 02/02/03; Poitou-Charentes; 4,452 ha; 46°13'N 001°28'W. Nature Reserve (119 ha), Special Protection Area and proposed Site of Community Importance EC Directives. A complex of tidal sands and mudflats and diked marshes on the island of Ré off the Atlantic coast, including active and abandoned salt pans, freshwater marshes, reedbeds, oyster basins, extensive salt pastures, active dunes, dune forests, sandy and rocky coasts, and important seagrass beds (Zostera noltii). The site harbours a number of plant and animal species of conservation concern, including two regional endemics, the dune plant Omphalodes littoralis and the subspecies of the bluethroat Luscinia svecica namnetum. More than 31,000 waterbirds use the site in winter. Four populations of them occur regularly above the 1% threshold: Branta bernicla bernicla, Recurvirostra avoseta, Calidris alpina, Limosa limosa islandica. Human uses include oyster farming and numerous leasure and tourist activities (cycling, walking, fishing, canoeing, angling, sailing, swimming). Two visitor centres provide education facilities. Ramsar site no. 1269.

-- Site descriptions by Tobias Salathé, Ramsar.

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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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