The Wonder of The Wetlands
This year, World Wetland Week fell on the 2nd of February and our charity partners at Sussex Wildlife Trust took the opportunity to share an update about wetland projects in this important coastal county that so many of us love to visit or learn about. The Sussex Wildlife Trust has worked hard to build partnerships with landowners and community groups to expand and connect wetlands and improve the ecosystem that will help increase the landscape resilience to climate change for both wildlife and people.
Read their summary here and explore other brilliant (and sometimes fun) initiatives led by this important Wildlife Trust and look out for upcoming Community trundls in support of this charity.
By Sam Buckland
Sussex Flow Initiative Natural Flood Management Officer
What have wetlands ever done for us..? Quite a lot as it turns out.
They act as filters, providing clean water; they perform like bank vaults, storing and locking away carbon; function like big sponges, providing flood protection; are a source of food and fuel; as well as being sites with huge riches in biodiversity and beauty. Wetlands are enormously important.
So what exactly are wetlands? They are home to an incredible diversity of amazing wildlife, from dazzling dragonflies to wheeling flocks of Lapwings. A wetland can be almost any part of the landscape which is influenced by water, from a puddle to an ocean!
Sussex Wildlife Trust has been working with partner organisations to restore and create wetland habitats within the Ouse Catchment as part of the Sussex Flow Initiative. This catchment-wide project has been working from the headwaters in the Ashdown Forest in the High Weald AONB, down to the South Downs National Park, on to where the River Ouse meets the Sussex coast at Newhaven.
The project has been working with landowners and community groups to increase the landscape’s resilience to climate change for the wildlife and people within it. Over the last five years, more than 16.5 million litres of additional water storage has been created through reconnecting areas of floodplain as well as creating ponds and scrapes. The water stored within these wetland features is enough to fill an Olympic swimming 6.6 times.
The project has also been emulating the activity of beavers, once a species that would have been in many of wetland habitats. We have built over 500 leaky dams, each one slowing the flow of water, trapping sediment and helping to retain water within the landscape into drought conditions.
More about World Wetlands Day