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Stanley Liphadzi 
Ramsar report on environmental water requirements for estuaries

Maintaining the ecological character of estuaries is essential to both integrated river basin management and integrated coastal zone management because estuaries serve as the bridges or connections between inland or fresh water systems and coastal marine wetland ecosystems. Frequently, though, attention to the environmental water requirements of wetlands focuses on inland (freshwater) systems, but ensuring that estuaries have an adequate supply of fresh water as well as sea water, at the right times, is critical to maintaining estuarine wetland ecosystems.

The Ramsar Secretariat has published a new Ramsar Technical Report (number 9 in the RTR series, published jointly with the Convention on Biological Diversity as CBD Technical Report no. 69) that addresses these crucial issues. The illustrated 36-page paper, ‘Determination and implementation of environmental water requirements for estuaries’, by Janine Adams of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, reviews the available methods for determining the environmental water requirements of estuaries and discusses the trends in method development and requirements for the successful implementation of those requirements, with a special focus on three countries that have made substantial progress in developing such methods, Australia, South Africa and the USA. Eight pages of references and three tables of site examples have been provided in the report.

The list of published RTRs can be found at www.ramsar.org/RTR and the present report can be downloaded from http://www.ramsar.org/pdf/lib/rtr9-estuaries.pdf.

Eastern Cape ,Umgazi evening – (picture by Duncan Hay)
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