SWS Ramsar Support Grant winners for 2004

26/04/2004

Society of Wetland Scientists' Ramsar Support Grant Program

Announcement of 2004 Awards

The Society of Wetland Scientists Ramsar Support Grant Program, established in 1999, advances Ramsar Convention on Wetlands objectives, including the selection, designation, management, and networking of Ramsar sites, and the promotion of Ramsar's Wise Use guidelines. Projects are funded at a level of US$5,000 per year on a competitive basis as reviewed by an evaluation team, which includes three wetland professionals from the Society of Wetland Scientists, a Ramsar Secretariat representative, and in certain years, a representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of International Affairs. This year's evaluation team was comprised of Dr. Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, Ramsar Secretariat; Dr. Judy Drexler, U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Division; Dr. Katherine Ewel, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, U.S. Forest Service; Dr. Chris Freeman, University of Wales, Bangor; and Eric Gilman, grant program manager. Funds from the Society of Wetland Scientists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of International Affairs make this grant program possible.

Information on the grant program can be found at <www.sws.org/regional/international/Ramsar.Support.Framework>. For additional information, contact Eric Gilman, Grant Program Manager, at ericgilman@earthlink.net.

The following three projects have been selected by the proposal evaluation team to receive support for the 2004 round of grant-making.

1. Ms. Thu Hue Nguyen, International Marinelife Alliance Vietnam, will work to help the local community work with management authorities to develop fishery and aquaculture regulations for the Xuan Thuy National Park, Vietnam's first Ramsar site designated in 1988. Activities will raise the awareness of local fishing communities on the economic benefits of sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices. The community-based regulations will be developed and implemented initially in two villages of the Xuan Thuy National Park.

2. Mr Carlos Bento, Museum of Natural History, and Dr. Richard Beilfuss, International Crane Foundation, will develop a wise use management plan for the Marromeu Complex of the Zambezi Delta, which is foreseen to become Mozambique's first Ramsar Site. The comprehensive management plan will be developed through community stakeholder workshops, consultation with Provincial and National management authorities, and a workshop of technical experts. The management plan will address the wise use of local resources including accurate and enforceable wildlife hunting quotas for safari operators, community access to natural resources (such as forest products, fish, medicinal plants, livestock fodder, agricultural soils, and wildlife), timber harvest from the adjacent escarpment, mangrove utilization, and water quality management (especially related to sugar mill effluent). The plan will also address regional hydrological issues affecting the Marromeu Complex, providing guidelines for environmental flow requirements for the Zambezi River to sustain the ecosystems and livelihoods of the complex and guidelines for restoring the degraded Salone depression to channel floodwaters from the Zambezi River into the wetlands.

3. Mr. Alvin Lopez, IUCN (The World Conservation Union) Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme, will provide assistance to enable Lao PDR accession to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Project components include convening a stakeholder workshop, conducting rapid assessments of wetlands in Lao to identify candidate Ramsar sites, and preparing Ramsar Information Sheets for candidate sites for the Ramsar List.

Since the establishment of the Ramsar Support Grant Program in 1999, 18 grants have been awarded totaling $90,000 to wetland professionals in the following 15 countries: Argentina (2), Bangladesh, Brazil (2), Cambodia, Colombia, Lao, Moldova, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Slovakia, Uganda, Ukraine, and Vietnam (2). A complete list and brief description of projects supported by the grant program can be found at the Web site mentioned above.

The Society of Wetland Scientists is a non-profit charitable and educational organization with a mission of augmenting the conservation and understanding of wetlands. The Society encourages the acceptance of wetland science as a distinct discipline by supporting student education, curriculum development, and research, and provides an independent forum for the exchange of ideas and information developed within wetland science. The Society has approximately 5,000 members from ca. 65 countries, with 13 regional chapters in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Colombia. Society members receive the Society's peer-reviewed scientific journal Wetlands and newsletter SWS Bulletin, regional chapter newsletters, discounted registration at the annual conference, and voting privileges. More information on the Society, including membership information, can be found on the web at <www.sws.org>.

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