Severn Estuary RAMSAR Site

Severn Estuary RAMSAR Site

Coastal Habitat

Overview

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The Severn Estuary is a large estuary with extensive intertidal mudflats and sandflats, rocky platforms and islands. Saltmarsh fringes the coast backed by grazing marsh with freshwater ditches and occasional brackish ditches. The seabed is rock and gravel with subtidal sandbanks. The estuary's classic funnel shape, unique in the UK, is a factor causing the Severn to have the second-highest tidal range in the world. This tidal regime results in plant and animal communities typical of the extreme physical conditions of liquid mud and tideswept sand and rock. A further consequence of the large tidal range is an extensive intertidal zone, one of the largest in the UK.. The Severn Ramsar site stretches from west of Cardiff to the Slimbridge wetlands, well inland to the south of Gloucester.

http://www.ramsar.org/pdf/wurc/wurc_kuijken_history.pdf

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/App1-designations_tcm6-11832.pdf

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images/Severn-estuary-EMS_tcm6-11831.pdf

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, is an international treaty that provides the framework for national and international co-operation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

"The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat" was signed at Ramsar, Iran on 2 February 1971 and amended by the Paris Protocol of 3 December 1982. The UK Government signed the Convention in 1973 and Parliament ratified it in 1976.
Contracting parties are required to designate suitable wetlands within their territories for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (the link below).

Areas should be selected for their ecology, botany, zoology, limnology (study of the phenomena of lakes), and hydrology. At least one site had to be designated for the List at the time of ratification of the convention but Contracting Parties are able to add to the list subsequently or extend the boundaries of a wetland already on the List. Further, a Contracting Party has the right because of "its urgent national interests" to delete or restrict the boundaries of Wetlands already included in the List (Article 2). Where a Contracting Party does so delete all or part of a Listed site, they should as far as possible compensate for the loss by way of alternative provision (Article 4).

The criteria for the identification of wetlands of international importance was agreed at a meeting of Contracting Parties at Montreau in 1990.The use of common standards for designating outstanding wetlands makes it possible to make international comparisons of management systems. In particular, educational comparisons can be made between sites of irrigation agriculture, such as the Severnside Levels and the drainage basins of the African Rift Valley Ramsar sites.

http://www.ramsar.org/cda/en/ramsar-pubs-notes-anno-kenya/main/ramsar/1-...

There are currently 10 RAMSAR sites in Wales.

http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-1392

Further information on the RAMSAR Convention is available from the RAMSAR Bureau.

http://www.ramsar.org/cda/en/ramsar-cop12-logo-homeindex/main/ramsar/1%5...

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