Celebrate World Wetlands during February

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Dublin City Council celebrated RAMSAR International World Wetlands Day on Feb 2 by inviting people to visit the city’s wetlands. Young people (Age 15 to 24) are also invited to take photos at wetland sites during February and to submit them to RAMSAR with a chance to win a visit to an international RAMSAR site (see information below). 

Wetlands are areas saturated by water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, static or flowing, fresh, brackish, or marine.  Wetland habitat types in Ireland are typically marsh, swamp, bog, fen, turlough, lagoons, salt marshes, estuaries and wet woodlands. 

Worldwide wetlands ensure humanity has fresh water, they purify harmful waste from water, they provide a food source mainly in terms of fish and rice for billions of people and many livelihoods are dependent on them especially in developing countries.

Wetlands are bursting with biodiversity and provide a refuge for wildlife. They offer us a protection against the extreme effects of climate change, flooding, coastal erosion and drought. Wetlands are places to play and visit and are key sites for tourism water sports, fishing and nature exploration.  A future without wetlands would result in the loss of all these key services particularly access to clean water.  According to RAMSAR the international champion for wetlands an estimated 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900.

There are three main types of wetlands in Dublin City

Marine and coastal wetlands. Examples are the mudflats, salt meadows and dune slacks at North Bull Island UNESCO Biosphere and the Strand at Sandymount. 

Freshwater wetlands are typically marsh,  swamps, wet grasslands, ponds streams and canals.  These can be found in the City’s river bank parks along the Liffey, Tolka, and Dodder and at the formal and woodland ponds at St Anne and Bushy Park.  

Constructed wetlands can be seen at Tolka Valley Park, and Ballymun’s Poppintree Park.   These were built to alleviate flooding and to purify water from old landfill and road run off.
Our wetlands in Dublin are very special and some are of European importance for wildlife.  At this time of year they are a great place to see winter water birds like ducks, the Light Bellied Brent Goose and waders. They are a key part of the water cycle for the city ensuring that Dublin Bay is an outstanding natural resource. 

The most important wetlands in Dublin City are in Dublin Bay at North Bull Island UNESCO Biosphere and Sandymount Strand – both are designated by the RAMSAR International Treaty on Wetlands.

You can learn more about Wetlands by visiting an interactive display at the Atrium Civic Offices  from Feb 9th – March 9th  . Recent photographs of North Bull Island by photographic wildlife enthusiasts, Brendan Norris and Martin Byrne from the Celbridge Camera Club will also be on display. 

Click below  for information about the photo competition  running from 2 February until 2 March.