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Celebrating our unique wetlands

Celebrating our unique wetlands

Saturday 04 February 2023

Celebrating our unique wetlands

Saturday 04 February 2023

Herm will be the focal point of a public exercise to both celebrate and protect the Bailiwick's sites on World Wetlands Day.

Tomorrow, Sunday 5 February is World Wetlands Day which is being supported locally by a number of environmentally conscious organisations.

The States' Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services, the Clean Earth Trust, La Société Guernesiaise, Guernsey Conservation Volunteers and the Bailiwick Eelgrass Exploration Project will all have a presence at tomorrow's event aiming to "raise awareness of the importance of wetlands as well as actively helping to improve the environment in Herm".

The day will include activities in Herm to help log different species living in the island's wetlands.


Pictured: Two sites across the Bailiwick are recognised as Ramsar sites.

Herm is one of two Ramsar sites in the Bailiwick. 

Being recognised as a wetland site under the Ramsar Convention elevates the status of that site to one of "International Importance", "bringing special notice to the environmental, cultural and heritage aspects of the area".

Herm, Jethou and The Humps are recognised as one Ramsar site, while a large area at L'eree including the Colin Best and La Claire Mare nature reserves and Lihou Island is the other. The L'eree site was designated first, in 2006, while the Herm site was recognised in 2015.

Several important habitats are present in Herm, Jethou and the Humps, including eelgrass beds, maerl beds, shallow reef systems and seven sunken shipwreck reefs, which provide spawning grounds for fish such as sea bass and black sea bream. This site also supports flatfish, shellfish; seabirds, basking shark, sun fish, Atlantic grey seal and four species of cetacean. The coastlines provide breeding sites for nine species of seabird and Atlantic grey seal.


Pictured: Lihou Island is part of a Ramsar site at L'eree.

Tomorrow's activities in Herm will include the removal of invasive species, a crab survey and an assessment of the condition of an eelgrass bed.

Emily Coule, Natural Environment Officer, said it will be "a fantastic way to celebrate our unique wetlands across the Bailiwick, by getting stuck in to help improve the environment of one of our Ramsar sites."

To get involved, members of the public are asked to meet at 12:30 at Herm harbour, with the event continuing until 16:15. There is no need to sign-up, and people are free to come and go at a time that would suit them.

“Even if you’ve never been to an event like this before, I’d encourage you to hop on a boat, join us and get involved. Not only is this a celebration of wetlands, but the activities that we’ll be carrying out will enable us to play our part in preserving a site of rich biodiversity,” said Ms Coule.


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