How should a wetland manager plan for site management?
A clear plan is essential to guide all aspects of the operation, administration and wise use of your site. It will help ensure that it is managed to retain or improve those essential ecological and hydrological functions which provide its benefits and services.
The plan should cover the current status of the site, integrate local and indigenous knowledge, establish goals and objectives for the future, explain how those goals and objectives are prioritized and how they will be met.
Management plans need not be lengthy or overly scientific, and the absence of data or gaps in knowledge should not prevent a plan being produced – a management plan is a living document that can be added to as more information is gathered.
Establishing cross-sectoral site management
A cross-sectoral site management committee can help ensure that the decision-making process and future development of your site maintains all the values for which the site is important.
A typical committee might comprise: site management and programme staff, site stakeholders including local people, funders (e.g. commercial sector), researchers, government department staff (e.g. planners, conservationists), interest groups and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Developing local stakeholder participation
The planning process is as important as the plan itself.
A range of Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness (CEPA) activities can be used to engage and involve local stakeholders, identify the multiple values of the wetland, integrate local and indigenous knowledge and catalyse action towards the wise use of wetlands.
It is preferable that CEPA is integrated into the various programmes and activities of the management plan so that it can reach out to a broad range of site users, stakeholders, and persons/ organizations who have an influence on your site.
Establishing long-term financing mechanisms
For your site to grow to meet its potential or sustain its core operations during periods of economic instability, early consideration needs to be given to long term, sustainable financing mechanisms.