15/03/2017
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WWT surveys artificial wetlands

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Children pond-dipping at a small artificial wetland - such sites serve an educational as well as conservation purpose. Photo: Heather Tait (WWT).
Children pond-dipping at a small artificial wetland - such sites serve an educational as well as conservation purpose. Photo: Heather Tait (WWT).
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) is asking designers and managers of man-made wetlands to complete a short survey about the benefits of such schemes.

The survey is designed to record increases in local wildlife, frequency of use by children playing, presence of sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS), and use as natural flood and coastal management. The WWT aims to strengthen the case for more natural solutions to water management by presenting their full value to the public. 


The Millennium Wetland Treatment System at Slimbridge WWT, Gloucestershire. Photo: Catherine McIlwraith (WWT).


Those completing the survey will be able to get support and advice on how to maximise the value of their scheme for wildlife and local people. WWT’s Dr Chloe Hardman is behind the initiative. She said: “Natural approaches to solving flooding and pollution problems such as SuDS and leaky dams are becoming mainstream, but we haven’t quite reached the tipping point where they are considered in every case.

“When wetland areas are included in these schemes, there is huge potential to create havens for wildlife and ... lovely natural spaces for people to enjoy. Essentially we’re trying to assess the true value of these schemes. Some will already be assessing these benefits, but many won’t. Engineers don’t necessarily get the brief from their clients to build in wildlife or community benefits. So, we’re also here to join up the dots and help these schemes reach their full potential.”

The schemes that WWT is looking at fall broadly into the categories: natural flood management (such as leaky dams), SuDS (sustainable drainage systems), constructed treatment wetlands (or other wetlands designed to improve water quality) and managed coastal realignment. Entries are added to an online map as they come in.

Everyone who completes the survey will receive a summary of all the evidence gathered, along with case studies of the best examples. WWT will use the evidence to strengthen the case for natural solutions to water and waste problems at national and local government level. The full survey is available to fill in at: www.wwt.org.uk/wetlandsurvey.
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