World Wetlands Day 2018

February 2, 2018

It is a happy coincidence that we mark World Wetlands Day today, while the much-needed rain falls down on our shire. The theme for the 2018 World Wetlands Day is ‘Wetlands for a sustainable urban future’. The theme urges us to reflect on how the health of our natural wetland environment is connected to our physical, social and economic health of our human towns and centres.

On a global level, wetlands play an important role in the health of the planet. Ramsar, the global authority on wetlands, estimates that the number of mega-cities (with more than 10 million inhabitants) will increase to 41 by 2030. The danger of growing cities is the need for development land and to claim that from urban wetland areas.

Coastal wetlands, such as mangroves, are integral to protect our cities from wave action and the natural structures contained in those coastal wetlands protect us from erosion, and breaker the potential devasting power of a storm surge. Inland wetland areas provide capture and filtration systems for life-sustaining fresh, drinking water. Australia is the worlds most water-poor continent and so arguably our wetlands are even more critical as we try to keep our river systems alive.

The wetlands of Byron Shire and the Northern Rivers Region hold a wealth of natural beauty and provide a critical supportive role to our local ecosystem, protecting the natural coastline and providing habitat for Australia’s beautiful creatures (we’re including ourselves in that!).

Where we rely on the export of our natural beauty to attract visitors, residents and business, the wetlands also form a link in the chain of economic prosperity.

If you have been coast-clinging and haven’t yet had a chance to get out and explore the local wetlands, there is beauty there to explore. We suggest hitting up the Byron Integrated Water Management Reserve for a unique and utterly local interview with nature and some of the fascinating bird life that thrive in the wetlands. You will need a permit to explore the reserve, which you can find below, but it is well worth the paperwork – especially today where we join in with World celebrations of the Wetlands.

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