Swamps, bogs, and other wetlands have long been viewed as spooky, unhealthy, or useless. Therefore, they were drained, rivers and streams were straightened and channeled, and former flood areas were turned into building land.
This has multiplied the risk of devastating floods coupled with falling groundwater levels. In addition, important biotopes have been lost and biodiversity is suffering.
In the meantime, the importance of wetlands has been recognized, not only for the landscape and the corresponding communities. One can also calculate the economic benefits to humans of avoiding or reducing damage from floods, drought and species loss.
The German government recently decided on an action program worth four billion euros: This sum is to be invested by 2026, for example to rewet moors or green cities. It's pretty expensive to restore something you destroyed before. The protection of wetlands is also a key requirement in EU environmental policy.
In Spain, people often lag behind when it comes to ecological issues. I was all the more pleased when I was invited to the workshop on the protection of the wetlands of the Balearic Islands.
The Environment Agency of the Balearic Islands, together with the WWF and SEO BirdLife, has created the project “Xarca Aigua i Biodiversitat” ( Network Water and Biodiversity ) to promote public participation in the conservation of wetlands.
"The aim of the project is that the network is a collaborative working space between public institutions, associations, companies, universities and research centers to promote the effective conservation and restoration of wetlands" ( Miguel Mir, Minister of Environment and Territories ).