27th April 2009
Humans and wildlife living in the Cairngorms National Park are set to benefit from an event taking place next week.
Twenty delegates from around the UK will attend a ‘Wetlands Workshop’ at the International Starters restaurant in Aviemore on Tuesday (May 5).
The event will mark the start of a project which will aim to not only maintain the Park’s existing wetlands but identify areas which could become wetlands.
Cairngorms Biodiversity Officer Justin Prigmore explained: “The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has been doing research to create a map of existing wetlands in the Park as well as where wetlands should occur.
“The workshop, which will bring together experts from a wide range of organisations including SEPA, SNH and the RSPB as well as independent experts, will help decide on the way forward for wetland projects in the Park.”
He added: “The value of wetlands is not just in providing more habitats for birds, invertebrates and amphibians, but helping humans too.
“Such areas alleviate flood risk and mitigate against climate change, because water will store there for longer instead of rushing downstream.”
The development of new wetlands might include the restoration of areas that have been drained for a variety of reasons over past centuries.
Mr Prigmore concluded: “The workshop will give us a wetland vision for the Cairngorms National Park and help us identify how we can begin to achieve that.
“We will be seeking full consultation with landowners and other local people before any new wetlands are even considered.”
Lorna Harris, Wetland Ecologist for SEPA, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Cairngorms National Park Authority on such an important project. SEPA is leading on the development of an inventory of the location, extent, and type of wetlands throughout Scotland over the next four years.
“This will assist with SEPA’s regulatory requirements for wetlands and biodiversity duties and help partners to plan wetland protection, management and restoration.”
She added: “The project with the Cairngorms National Park Authority is a pilot phase for the national work, and will help both SEPA and our project partners protect and enhance wetlands throughout Scotland for the future.
“The restoration and creation of wetlands can have multiple benefits and SEPA will be working closely with all partners to provide a wetland vision that meets multiple objectives.”