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World Wetlands Day

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2 February 2018

Today we celebrate World Wetlands Day!

What is World Wetlands Day?

Marking the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands, World Wetlands day takes place every year on February 2nd where events are held around the world to raise public awareness of the importance of wetlands. Wetlands (defined as areas where water covers the soil either all year or for varying periods of time during the year) are found in almost every region of the world and come in all shapes and sizes; from marshes and mudflats to bogs and billabongs. Wetlands are considered some of the most productive ecosystems on earth; providing a wide variety of Ecosystem Services such alleviating flood risk, providing clean drinking water, supporting valuable biodiversity and mitigating climate change by storing carbon.

Futureproofing Wetlands in Wales

Here in Wales, we have over 70,000 hectares of peatland, a type of wetland that accumulates peat, and with thanks to a generous contribution of £1m from the Welsh Government's Sustainable Management Scheme, some of Wales' most important peatlands will be protected, maintained and improved through the ‘Mawndiroedd Cymru’ (‘Wales’ Peatlands’) project.

Over the next three years, this joint scheme between the Snowdonia National Park Authority, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Natural Resources Wales, the National Trust and other partner organisations will help deliver the Ministerial target of bringing Welsh peatland habitats into sustainable management by 2020.

A project manager and two project officers (South and North) have been appointed and will be working hard to deliver a programme of action for peatlands across Wales. On behalf of the project, Rhys Owen, Head of Agriculture and Conservation at Snowdonia National Park Authority said,

“We are extremely grateful to the Welsh Government for its generosity in contributing towards a scheme which will help to ensure a prosperous future for Welsh peatlands. Peat restoration is beneficial to all elements of today's society as it reduces carbon emissions, improves water quality and improves river management. In addition, it will assist land managers in improving grazing opportunities, it will retain the distinctiveness of our historic landscapes and preserve prehistoric features.

Our intention is to establish a national hub for research on peatlands, deliver training to land managers to improve and restore peatlands, and attract new markets to invest in peatlands through payment for ecosystem services mechanisms such as the Peatland Code."

Following this new financial support, some of Wales' peatlands will be able to be sustainably managed for future generations.

To find out more about the Mawdiroedd Cymru Project, please get in touch with the Project Manager, Marian Pye (marian.pye@eryri.llyw.cymru)

Celebrating ‘Cyfoeth Ein Corsydd’

As well as being a huge part of our future here in Wales, Peatland areas have played a significant part of our past too; from peat harvesting for fuelling homes in Cwm Cynllwyd, making rush lights in Meirionnydd and even using Sphagnum moss to pack wounds during the First World War. To find out more, or if you have any stories to share please contact Haf Roberts (haf.roberts@eryri.llyw.cymru) or visit the Cyfoeth Ein Corsydd webpage. This unique project funded by the Lottery Heritage Fund to record the heritage associated with Snowdonia’s bogs in terms of their use and significance to people over the years. It will also look at ancient treasures that have been discovered in bogs, as well as how man has used them over the years.

Get out and explore a Wetland!

Why not use World Wetlands Day as an excuse to get out and explore a wetland near you this weekend? Here are a few ideas of wetland habitats to visit within and on the outskirts of the Snowdonia National Park…

Fore more information visit www.worldwetlandsday.org

Cae 2018

Notes to Editors

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