Call to celebrate Rye’s wetlands

CONSERVATION landscape in the Rye area is in the spotlight this week with an international celebration of wetlands.

World Wetlands Day took place yesterday (Thursday) and the RSPB is encouraging people to get out this weekend and explore the special wildlife sites on their doorstep.

Key local wetland areas include Rye Harbour, Pett Level, Romeny Marsh and Dungeness.

Wetlands are an integral part of the English countryside, say the RSPB, helping to reduce flooding, supporting rare wildlife and providing employment and leisure activities.

At this time of year they are important feeding grounds for ducks, geese and wading birds which stop off here before heading back to their breeding grounds in the spring.

Sophie Flax, RSPB wetland conservation officer in the south east, said: “Our wetlands are a valuable part of the landscape. Wetland habitats provide many benefits for people as well as wildlife, including helping to reduce flooding pressure, recharging underground water supplies and filtering out pollution.

“World Wetlands Day is a celebration of the importance of wetlands across the world and how vital it is that we conserve and protect them.”

Since it was first celebrated in 1997, World Wetlands Day has been supported by government agencies, non-government organisations including the RSPB, and community groups to raise awareness of the value and benefits of wetlands, and to promote the conservation and enjoyment of them.

Wetland habitats are very diverse, and include fens, swamps, marshes, reedbeds, ditches, streams and rivers.

Over the last 300 years we have lost huge areas of wetlands, much of it through drainage and the embankment of rivers, and their survival is now threatened more than ever by climate change.

The RSPB is among conservation organisations working to create and maintain wetlands as habitats for wildlife to thrive in, and as places for people to enjoy.