Why wetlands are important and how we are helping to preserve them.
Help for rare and threatened species
A 50 year project to restore England's damaged wetlands will help bring back rare and threatened species. The restored wetlands will help reduce flooding and water pollution, and make sure the future of England's wetlands is safe.
Wetlands are important
Wetlands are one of the most important natural resources on earth.
- They provide sustainable livelihoods for people
- They support a unique range of wildlife
- They form part of a healthy and functional landscape
- They help recharge underground water supplies, store sediments and filter out pollution
- They buffer the extremes of weather associated with climate change
The past three centuries have seen devastating losses of wetlands in England: fens have been drained, grazing marshes ploughed or converted to intensive agriculture, reedbeds polluted, rivers straightened and their flood plains isolated from their former flooding regime, and lowland bogs have been extensively mined for their peat.
Because of this, wetland wildlife faces an uncertain future, and a changing climate sees the south east of England in particular suffering the consequences of both sea level rise and drought.
What we are doing
With Natural England, English Heritage, the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts, we have formed a partnership to develop and implement a vision for wetlands and the wildlife they support.
A technical advisory group supported the partnership during the project’s development, with representatives from the National Trust, Pond Conservation, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and World Wildlife Fund.
Together, we have developed a new vision committed to restoring and re-creating wetlands. We have brought together a range of information about existing wetland projects and the potential for future wetlands, and presented it using GIS mapping tools to enable others to access and use the information when developing their plans and strategies.
Wetlands are intrinsically linked to local communities and land managers across England - this is why we have involved a range of organisations in developing the vision. By involving others, we hope to inspire people and achieve much better co-ordinated action towards our common goals.
The Vision project was launched at a special event at the WWT London Wetland Centre in 2008.
Natural England are donating funds of up to two million pounds per year over the next three years to help make this ambitious wetland vision a reality. They will be looking to create and restore wetlands in areas as diverse as the Meres and Mosses of the West Midlands, the fens of South Lincolnshire, and the peatlands of the Humberhead levels.
This new funding will help make significant progress towards the Biodiversity Action Plan commitment to create eight new landscape scale wetlands in the UK by 2020.
We hope that we can demonstrate greater use of natural processes in flood risk management.
For more information on the project please see the Wetland Vision website: