A report on Jersey’s wetlands by an international conservation expert has highlighted the danger to the Island’s wetlands and wildlife if controls and management are not improved.
On a visit to Jersey earlier this year, Kevin Peberdy, Director of Centre Developments at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), provided The National Trust for Jersey with useful insights into the management of the Island’s wetlands. In a recently published report, Mr Peberdy highlighted the fact that 80% of Jersey’s wetlands have either become degraded or lost completely.
Some of those that remain, including Grouville Marsh, may also be in danger of ecological decline due to the absence of an integrated multi-party management plan and inadequate hydrological controls.
The report also emphasises the practical value of wetlands to the Island. ‘Kevin stressed that it was vitally important to raise public awareness about the value of wetlands not just as natural areas for wildlife, but also in terms of their practical function. Wetlands help reduce flooding, improve water quality and act as carbon sinks,’ said Jon Horn, The National Trust for Jersey’s Countryside Manager.
Jon, who accompanied Kevin around the Island’s wetland sites, said the WWT expert was clearly impressed by the rich variety of wildlife present. ‘Kevin reserved particular praise for St Ouen’s pond and gave us some very valuable habitat management advice.’
Ultimately, Kevin’s report will inform the National Trust’s future decision making activity and will feed into the Trust’s work protecting Jersey’s remaining wetland habitats.
‘Following his visit,’ said Jon, ‘The National Trust for Jersey is now looking to action some of the habitat management advice he provided, including introducing water level
controls where necessary. We are also working towards developing and implementing an interpretation and access plan for our wetland sites.’
Francis Binney, RBC Wealth Management’s Environmental Officer in the British Isles, also toured Jersey’s wetlands with Kevin and Jon. ‘Although Kevin visited on a cold February day, he was able to gather a lot of information about the state of our wetlands in a short visit. His trip to Jersey also highlighted how RBC’s Blue Water project can benefit Jersey,’ he said. ‘The project’s aim is to develop a culture of good water stewardship in the communities in which RBC works and while Jersey has clean drinking water, there is still work to be done in managing the water in our environment.’
Mr Horn was pleased RBC had made Kevin’s visit to Jersey possible. ‘Having Kevin here, and benefiting from his experience and advice, has been extremely worthwhile. It’s always useful to have a third party look at the work we’re doing. Ultimately, his findings will feed into work that we undertake in the future and I want to thank him for sharing his insights.’