Wonderful wetlands attract international visitors
The wetlands within Toyota City in Japan were placed on the Ramsar list earlier this year and a delegation led by mayor Ota Toshihiko visited Lee Valley Regional Park on July 11 on a fact finding mission about how these areas can be managed and opened up to the public without affecting their ecological balance.
Spread across four sites, the wetlands of Lee Valley Regional Park are among the most important in the world and are hugely popular with visitors to the Park, who come to take part in a range of activities from walking to birdwatching. They were placed on the Ramsar list in 2000 and are one of only a handful of Ramsar sites in the country.
Mr Toshihoko received a presentation from Chief Executive Shaun Dawson on the wider work of the Park, its history and the role the Authority is playing in delivering a legacy from the London 2012 Games. Cath Patrick, the Authority’s Senior Conservation Officer gave a presentation on how the wetlands are managed, their unique plant and wildlife and a volunteer programme which attracts hundreds of people each year.
The visitors were also given a guided tour of the wetlandsThey also heard about three important species of birds that frequent Lee Valley Regional Park’s wetlands; Bittern, Gadwall and Shoveler. The Lee Valley is well known as an excellent spot for watching Bittern and attracts visitors from across the country.
Mr Toshihiko said: “We have only just been placed on the Ramsar list and have learned a lot from our visit to Lee Valley Regional Park. We are particularly impressed by the way the wetlands have balanced ecological needs with those of the community and are popular visitor attractions. This is certainly something we will look to do with our own wetlands in Toyota City.”
The Ramsar list was established in 1971 with member countries agreeing to maintain their important wetlands. The Japanese delegation was in Europe to attend the 11th Ramsar Conference which took place in Bucharest, Romania from 6 to 13 July where the wetlands of Toyota City were formally placed on the Ramsar list.