World Wetlands Day

Fran Southgate
Wetlands Landscape Officer

Sunday 2 February is World Wetlands Day and Sussex Wildlife Trust remains committed to saving our county’s valuable wetlands.

wetland wildlife / Neil Fletcher

wetland wildlife / Neil Fletcher

As Britain recovers from some of its worst flooding for decades, it’s timely to remember that wetlands are one of the most important habitats on the planet.

After weeks of serious flooding many people are requesting wetlands and floodplains be drained without realising this often makes flooding worse. Urban run-off and drainage is now responsible for over 80% of flooding issues in Sussex. Rather than causing the problem, precious wetlands help to absorb and store water and reduce damage by slowing down floodwaters.

As well as helping to protect us from flooding and supporting a vast array of wildlife, wetlands and floodplains are some of the most fertile agricultural areas in the world. This year the theme of World Wetlands Day is ‘Wetlands and Agriculture – Partners for Growth.’

Each year, seasonal floods replenish nutrients and soil in wetlands and river floodplains, creating vast areas which we can reap for harvest. Wetlands also directly provide fuel, fish and fibre, and support agriculture indirectly by providing supplies of good quality water, nutrients for fertilising soils and insects which feed on pests. For years wetlands have been taken for granted, but their essential role in support of agriculture is becoming clearer and clearer.

Wetlands are some of the most important habitats on the planets. They are lungs, lifeblood and leisure to billions of people – storing climate regulating carbon, cleaning our drinking water and providing habitat for millions of species (including ourselves).

Celebrate World Wetlands Day with a walk at Rye Harbour nature reserve’s new saltmarsh. Expect to see wetland birds such as little egrets, golden plover and curlew.

Visit for details on World Wetlands Day.

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