The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 12 March 2009

Moldova completes SGF inventory project. The Center for Strategic Environmental Studies ECOS in the Republic of Moldova carried out and successfully concluded an SGF project addressing a baseline inventory of priority wetlands in the Moldovan part of the Danube river basin which should be a part of the Danube River Basin Management Plan to achieve integrated management of water resources in line with EU Water Framework Directive. The Ramsar SGF project allowed Moldova for the first time to make an inventory of all inland and human-made wetlands, including all designated as IBAs and a number of large water reservoirs in the Moldovan part of the Danube river basin. Ramsar's Assistant Advisor for Europe, Nadezhda Alexeeva, provides an illustrated summary of the project results. [05/03/09]

Training opportunities. Wetland construction workshops in the USA and Canada. Thomas R. Biebighauser, Wildlife Biologist, US Forest Service, Center for Wetlands and Stream Restoration, South Morehead, Kentucky, USA, provides a listing of wetland construction workshops scheduled for the USA and Canada in the coming months, beginning with one in West Virginia on 21-22 April 2009. See it here. [04/03/09]

Mauritania names 4th Ramsar site. The government of Mauritania has added its fourth site to the List of Wetlands of International Importance, Lac Gabou et le réseau hydrographique du Plateau du Tagant (9,500 hectares, 17°56'N 011°52'W). As summarized by Ramsar’s Cynthia Kibata from the Ramsar Information Sheet, the new site is composed of a network of rivers that flow from the mountainous region at the limit of the Sahel and Sahara to form Lac Gabou, with several temporary lagoons and ponds as well as freshwater springs and oases. The presence of this water resource is important as it supports a diverse range of flora and fauna, largely indigenous to the region and of global conservation concern. Of particular note are Phoenix dactylifera and Hyphaene thebaica, two species of palms that are of great economic value, and L’Adansonia digitata and l’Adenium obesum, baobabs found typically in the Sahelian savanna. During periods of adverse conditions, Crocodylus niloticus suchus find refuge at the site;they are known to bury themselves in the muddy pools and trenches until the rainy season begins. Flights of migratory white storks (Ciconia ciconia) and black storks (Ciconia nigra) have been sighted in the area, proving that it is an important flyway for various migratory waterbirds. The main threats occur as a result of limited resources leading to overexploitation and continued desertification typical of the Sahel. [02/03/09]

Switzerland approves "Swiss Grant for Africa" for 2008. The Ramsar Convention Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Federal Government of Switzerland (Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication) through the Swiss Agency for the Environment (OFEV) has once again agreed to provide financial resources for some of the Convention's activities in Africa for another year through the Swiss Grant for Africa (SGA). This year, the SGA will allow the Secretariat to support no fewer than six projects in the continent with an activity in almost each of the six subregions. The total amount allocated this year is CHF 162'800. HERE  [23/02/09]

Managing a Ramsar Site to prevent drought damage - a success story. A coordinated effort by the Banrock Station Wetland Complex Ramsar Site manager, Tony Sharley, scientists from two research institutions, and the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, has resulted in the transformation of this wetland following a prolonged dry period. Good news for the Ramsar site, of course, but also some important findings during the closely monitored refill process provide useful lessons for managing other wetlands under similar stress. Read the site manager's illustrated visitor handout on the refill experiences here.

Banrock Station Wines, a private company that manages the Ramsar site on its property (the site itself is stated-owned but under perpetual lease to the company), was a Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award winner in 2002 for its "innovative approach to supporting the sustainable use of wetland resources". Read more about their award here. [13/02/09]

Return to Ramsar and WWF roots in Spain. Doñana National Park has a special place in the history of environment activism, with WWF owing its origins to a fund set up to save the wetland vital to millions of migrating birds from 1950s proposals for extensive eucalyptus plantations. Scientists and philanthropists prominent in saving Doñana then went on to lobby governments for a framework to protect wetlands of international significance and the international Convention on Wetlands (the Ramsar Convention) was the result. At WWD celebrations there, the guest of honor was Dr Luc Hoffmann, a key figure in the original fight to save Doñana, a founder member of WWF and key lobbyist for the Ramsar Convention, and both Anada Tiéga, Ramsar Secretary General, and James Leape, Director General of WWF International, were on hand as well.

Australia launches "snapshot study" of Ramsar sites. The Hon Peter Garrett, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts of Australia, took the occasion of World Wetlands Day to launch his government's "Ramsar Snapshot Study Report" on the status and management of all 65 Australian Ramsar sites up to the end of 2007 and on the completeness and currency of Ramsar site documentation for Australian Ramsar sites. He concludes that the study "paints a damning picture of poor administration and inaction under the previous government". The minister's media release analyses the failings of the past decade and more and reports on the programmes that the Kevin Rudd Labor Government has got in hand to remedy that situation. Here is the media release, reprinted from Minister Garrett's Web site, with a link to the study itself and the response from the Wetlands and Waterbirds Taskforce comprising members of commonwealth, state and territory governments responsible for wetland management. [02/02/09]

World Wetlands Day greetings from the Secretary General. World Wetlands Day provides us all with one special opportunity every year to highlight the importance of the world’s wetlands to the planet’s health and to our own lives. This year’s theme – “Upstream, Downstream: wetlands connect us all” – is especially apropos, because it focuses our attention on the many ways in which our local wetlands depend upon, and influence, the actions of others, and it helps to demonstrate our need for cooperation and collaboration with many other stakeholders in other sectors of government and society and in other parts of our geographical regions.

Sooner or later, we find that it is nearly impossible to work alone to preserve the healthy functioning of our own natural environments. The interconnectedness of our wetland and water systems means that we must always look for opportunities to work together throughout our river basins or catchments, to find common ground and agree common objectives, and to do our own parts with a common sense of purpose.

All over the world, citizens and organizations and government agencies are celebrating and educating the public about the important values of our wetlands. On behalf of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, I send my greetings to all of you, and I wish you a productive World Wetlands Day.

Anada Tiéga
Secretary General

Gabon names three new sites for World Wetlands Day. The government of Gabon has completed the paperwork for the designation of three new sites for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, all effective as of World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2009. They are large and very rich wetlands that bring Gabon's total amount of Ramsar coverage to nine sites over 2,818,469 hectares. WWF International's Freshwater Programme and WWF - Gabon provided financial and technical support for this project, and all are to be congratulated heartily. Ramsar's Cynthia Kibata has prepared brief site descriptions for the Annotated Ramsar List, available here. [29/01/09]

New Ramsar video available on DVD. The new Ramsar video “Wetlands: keeping our planet alive and well” is now available on DVD in English, French, and Spanish versions. It was first screened at Ramsar COP10 in Changwon, Korea, to grand applause, and in fact was produced by with generous financial support from the city of Changwon.The long version runs about 4 and a half minutes and the shorter version runs to 1 and a half minutes, and the DVD includes both long and short versions in all three Ramsar languages. If you would like to receive one of the DVDs, please send your name and postal address (and don't forget to specify your preference for PAL or NTSC) to Nathalie Rizzotti (, who was in charge of this project on the Ramsar side.

All six videos can also be downloaded individually in Quicktime .MOV format. Download here.

“Navigation and Wetlands”: update on the Kyliiske Mouth Ramsar site, Danube Delta. In October 2003, in response to Ukraine’s intention to re-establish a deep waterway through the Ukrainian part of the Danube delta, thus creating a navigable connection between the river Danube and the Black Sea, a joint Ramsar-UNESCO mission assessed the different options and provided its recommendation in Ramsar Advisory Mission Report 53. Discussions on the issue have continued, with a number of environmental conventions and organizations collaborating closely on helping the government of Ukraine to find the best way to accomplish its goals and meet its international treaty obligations. Most recently, an on-the-spot visit sponsored by the Council of Europe and facilitated by Ukraine took place 28-30 July 2008 and included representatives of the UNECE Espoo Convention Secretariat, the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme, the European Commission Directorates General External Relations and Environment, and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat.

In this follow-up report, Ramsar’s Tobias Salathéprovides a thorough summary of the background, the issues involved, and the on-the-spot visit and surveys the Ramsar Secretariat’s recommendations as elaborated during that recent visit. [29/01/09]

Additional link: "Overview of activities addressing the Bystroe Canal Project under multilateral environmental agreements and by intergovernmental organizations" (9 May 2008)

Conférence de presse -- Genève. Le 27 janvier, le Département du Territoire (domaine nature et paysage) de l’Etat de Genève et le Musée d’histoire naturelle de la ville de Genève ont organisé conjointement une conférence de presse pour le lancement de la Journée mondiale des zones humides. Les participants ont été accueillis par Danièle Decrouez, directrice du Museum, et par Christina Meissner, chargée de communication au département du territoire, qui a présenté le programme de la journée de dimanche 1er février sur la jetée des Paquis. Alexia Dufour du Secrétariat Ramsar a ensuite introduit le thème de cette année « D’amont en aval, les zones humides nous relient les uns aux autres ». Plusieurs acteurs locaux ont illustré ce thème par des exemples concrets de gestion transfrontalière de bassins versants dans la région genevoise. Mélanie Barber et Robert Dechamboux, tous deux impliqués dans la gestion de contrats de rivières côté français, ont exposé différents travaux réalisés dans ce cadre. Gottlieb Dändliker, inspecteur de la faune et de la pêche du canton de Genève, a ensuite montré comment ces actions menées au niveau des bassins versants profitent aux poissons tels que l’ombre, la truite lacustre et le spirlin. Toutes nos félicitations pour votre implication dans cette journée mondiale des zones humides ! [28/01/09]

Wetland stakeholders in the Philippines meet to update the National Wetland Action Plan. The Philippines is recognized as one of the world's biologically richest countries, but with over 7,000 islands making up the country, and the archipelago stretching over 1,810 kilometers from north to south, the challenges of managing this diversity - much of it associated with wetlands - is enormous. To chart the way forward for Philippine wetlands, over 60 people representing a broad range of stakeholders in wetland conservation met for three days, 12-14 January 2009, in the beautiful grounds of Silliman University in Dumaguete City located in the Visayas island group. The principal aims of the conference were to review implementation of, and to update, the National Wetlands Action Plan published in 1993; to set the stage for the development of a National Wetlands Policy; and finally to set up a National Wetlands Committee to oversee the finalisation of these two documents and the implementation of the plan. Ramsar’s Sandra Hails was there and here is her brief illustrated report. [21/01/09]

CREHO's course on EIA and SEA.The II International Course on Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Management of Wetlands has been successfully completed. During 12 days of theoretical - practical sessions, 18 representantives from seven Latin American countries and the Caribbean participated in the second version of the international course on Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Strategic assessment for Wetlands Management, which was organized by the Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere – CREHO. The course was held in Panama City from November 24th to December 5th, 2008, and was made possible thanks to the kind support of the Ramar Convention, the Organization of American States, the Panamanian Authority of Aquatic Resources (ARAP, spanish acronym), the Environmental National Autority of Panama (ANAM), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Photos and version español. [14/01/09]

Central American monitoring workshop. El primer Taller Centroamericano de Monitoreo de Aves de Pantano se realizó en el Parque Nacional de Palo Verde, Estación Biológica Palo Verde, Costa Rica, del 7 al 11 de diciembre 2008. Para este curso se becó a un grupo de 16 participantes de países de Centroamérica y Colombia. Informe y fotos. [13/01/09]

The first Central American Workshop of Swamp Birds Monitoring  took place at the Palo Verde National Park, Palo Verde Biological Station, December 7 – 11, 2008.  For this course 16 participants from Central American countries and Colombia were given scholarships. Report and photos.

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» List of Wetlands of
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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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