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In the past many of our UK wetlands have been drained for conversion to agricultural and development land. However, in recent decades the re-establishment of wetlands through restoration and creation plans has increased in response to regulatory and voluntary incentive programs. This is because wetlands have been shown to provide a variety of ecological, biological, and hydrologic functions that provide economic, aesthetic, recreational, and environmental benefits to society.
Rivers and associated wetlands contain habitats that support a rich variety of plants, mammals and invertebrates as well as often defining our landscapes. Currently wetlands are covered by the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) which aims to protect and enhance habitats for endangered species. BAP Actions for wetlands include reedbeds, lakes and irrigation reservoirs, ditches, fens, rivers and streams and mineral restorations. Different regions of the UK have their own specific BAP in which site-specific management schemes are followed for conservation of the local wildlife.
The design of wetlands is dependent on a number of criteria:
Previous wetland establishment plans have shown that it is important to carry out a variety of actions, for example:
A number of projects have been implemented across England and Wales to carry out wetland restoration, including:
Forestry Commission (undated). Sustainable wetland restoration: Regenerating rare habitats in the New Forest (PDF-153K). Forestry Commission, England.
Patterson, G. and Anderson, R. (2000). Forests and peatlands habitats (PDF-5460K). Forestry Commission, England.
Further details on the value of wetlands can be obtained from:
The creation of a wetland on a site that was historically non-wetland.
The rehabilitation or reestablishment of a degraded wetland, and/or the modification of an existing wetland.
The rehabilitation of a degraded wetland or the reestablishment of a wetland so that soils, hydrology, vegetation community, and habitat are a close approximation of the original natural condition that existed prior to modification to the extent practicable.
Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management
Retaining, developing, or managing wetland habitat for wetland wildlife.
Shallow Water Development and Management
The inundation of lands to provide habitat for fish and/or wildlife.
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