Preserving and Enhancing Wetland Habitats Across the UK
Today is World Wetlands Day!
In the UK, wetlands are found from high altitude peat bogs, springs and upland torrents, to meandering lowland rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, and intertidal zones. Healthy wetlands help to maintain water quality and reduce flooding, whilst supporting important biodiversity. During increasingly frequent high rainfall events, natural or man-made wetlands can intercept and slow the flow of surface water. This can significantly reduce the impact of flooding downstream whilst providing excellent habitat for aquatic biodiversity.
Wetlands continue to be taken for granted and are often undervalued. Invasive species, pollution, drainage, unsustainable development and climate change are all taking their toll, with wetlands under more pressure than ever before. The consequences are now starting to catch up with us and the planets wildlife with 35% of our wetlands vanishing since 1970, and wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests. 
On World Wetlands Day, Wardell Armstrong is reflecting on some of the ways it has contributed to preserving and enhancing wetland habitats across the UK.
Our in-house ecologists, landscape architects and civil engineers have together designed a wetland enhancement scheme in Cumbria for Siddick Ponds Site of Special Scientific Interest. The design includes new shingle-topped islands for nesting terns and waders, a new mudflat area for foraging wading birds and ducks and sluice gates to help control water levels. The sluice gates include eel ladders to ensure the continued migration of this critically endangered species.
In Cheshire we are working with a mineral extraction company to preserve and enhance breeding opportunities for a range of wetland birds, including lapwings and terns, through creation of open, gravel-topped rafts within lagoons created through quarrying.