France and Germany collaborate on new Ramsar sites

15/10/2008

Ninth Transboundary Ramsar Site identified by France and Germany

The Ramsar Secretariat is extremely pleased to announce that the governments of France and Germany have jointly designated two new Wetlands of International Importance and inscribed them as the ninth Transboundary Ramsar Site (see joint instrument here, PDF). The TRS covers both sides of the upper river Rhine between the two countries, roughly from the Karlsruhe area southward past Strasbourg and Freiburg nearly to Basel, some 170-190 km. The French Ramsar site, “Rhin supérieur / Oberrhein”, includes 22,413 hectares in the Alsace region, and the German one, “Oberrhein / Rhin supérieur”, covers 25,117 hectares in Baden-Württemberg, with a joint TRS centre point of 48°25’N 007°45’E. Both Ramsar sites are Natura 2000 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and both share great importance for any number of reasons, not least of which is their support for internationally significant numbers of migratory birds. It’s worth mentioning that this is a fitting reward for Dr Edith Wenger, who has been advocating for and working towards just this result for many years.

Brief descriptions for the Annotated Ramsar List have been prepared from the respective Ramsar Information Sheets by Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for Europe, Monica Zavagli.

Oberrhein / Rhin supérieur. 28/08/08; Baden-Württemberg; 25,117 ha; TRS centre 48°25’N 007°45’E. IBA, Natura 2000, Nature Reserve. The site includes 190km of the eastern bank of the river Rhine, with a variety of different natural and humanmade habitats and including at least ten zones of protection for birds. This alluvial area is very important for recharging one of the biggest aquifer in Europe. The site supports an outstanding number of relict, endangered and rare flora and fauna species, of which some cannot be observed anywhere else in Germany. An average of 92,000 migratory birds stop here every year, and 46 fish species are supported. The site is also the last refuge for some sub-Mediterranean species, such as wild bees (Andrena chrysopus, Andrena marginata and Tetralonia salicariae), dragonflies (Aeshna affinis), and butterflies (Chamaesphecia aerifrons, Cucullia caninae, Luperina dumerilii, Meganola togatulalis et Synansphecia affini.) Navigation, water sports, agriculture, fishing and hunting are only few of the main land uses. Pesticides, fertilizers and mismanagement of the water resources could lead to very negative effects. Part of the Transboundary Ramsar Site with Rhin supérieur / Oberrhein in France (2008). Ramsar site no. 1809. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Rhin supérieur / Oberrhein. 05/09/08; Alsace; 22,413 ha; TRS centre 48°25’N 007°45’E. Natura 2000 SPA, National Nature Reseverve. The upper part of the river Rhine’s western bank, along nearly 170km. The  hydrological regime has been strongly regulated in the 19th century and the site consists of many different natural areas such as relict swampy forests and meadows, but also humanmade habitats including dumps, canals and  agricultural lands. The site support a large number of internationally protected species such as Bufo calamita, Castor fiber, Lutra lutra and  Myotis myotis, and it provides nesting, resting, and wintering habitats for many birds, indeed every year an average of 55,000 migratory birds stop here. The Rhine also supports migratory fish species such as Salmo salar, Alosa alosa, Salmo trutta, Lampetra fluviatilis and Anguilla anguilla. Navigation, water sports, agriculture, hydroelectric power stations are only few of the main land uses. Canalization and deforestation could represent serious threats for the area. Part of the Transboundary Ramsar Site with Oberrhein / Rhin supérieur in Germany (2008). Ramsar site no. 1810. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

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