Europe Chapter Events
7th International Symposium for Wetland Systems for Water Pollution Control (WETPOL)
The 7th International Symposium for Wetland Systems for Water Pollution Control (WETPOL) will be held August 22-26, 2017, at the Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Montana, USA. WETPOL is the preeminent global conference that brings together scientists, engineers and practitioners, working on the use of wetlands for water quality improvement. For the first time in the U.S., this conference will create unique opportunities for collaborative exchange, so new participants are encouraged to attend. A full program is planned, focused on domestic wastewater treatment wetlands, urban stormwater wetlands and bio-swales, riparian wetland restoration, wetlands in agricultural settings and wetland biogeochemistry. The conference will include one day of field trips to explore examples of constructed, restored and unique natural wetlands and riparian areas in the region. Learn more at wetpol.org, or check out this informational flyer.
12th SWS Europe Chapter Annual Meeting
The SWS Europe Chapter held its 2017 annual chapter meeting on May 4 - 6 at the University of Algarve in Faro, Portugal. The meeting, Sustainable Management of Wetlands, explored the novel approaches for water management, biodiversity conservation, restoration, pollution control and climate change. Sessions included themes on wetlands in a water-wise eco (bio)-based industry, the ecological quality of lakes and reservoirs, river conservation in regards to facing agriculture intensification and climate and conservation and conflicting interests in coastal lagoons.
From left to right: SWS Europe Chapter President-Elect Mathew Simpson, SWS Europe Chapter President Jos Verhoeven, Ramsar Convention Secretary General Martha Rojas-Urrego, SWS President Gillian Davies, SWS President-Elect Arnold Van der Valk, SWS Ramsar Section Chair Nick Davidson.
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretary General Martha Rojas-Urrego and Society of Wetland Scientists President Gillian Davies signed and renewed the Ramsar Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands – Society of Wetland Scientists Memorandum of Cooperation at the meeting on Friday, May 5. This Memorandum creates the framework for collaboration between the two organizations during the 2017 – 2023 timeframe. The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands, and includes 169 Contracting Parties and 2,266 Ramsar Sites throughout the world. The Ramsar Convention and SWS share objectives for protecting, conserving, restoring and sustainably managing wetlands around the world, as well as providing wetlands education and outreach. As the Memorandum notes, “The Convention on Wetlands and the SWS recognize the fundamental role played by wetlands in regulating and providing water, in supporting maintenance of cultural and biological diversity, in ensuring high ecosystem integrity, in regulating climate and in providing ecosystem services and benefits for people and the planet.” Read more here.
11th SWS Europe Chapter Annual Meeting
Around 100 people from 23 countries gathered from 17-20 May, 2016 in the beautiful and historic city of Potsdam, Germany for the 11th annual meeting of the SWS Europe chapter. The theme of the meeting was “Wetland-Science and Society: Knowledge transfer, conservation conflicts and restoration management”. A special guest was SWS President Kim Ponzio. Our hosts, Dominik Zak and Jorg Gelbrecht, and their colleagues did a wonderful job in planning and running the meeting. There were two days of oral and poster presentations with a plenary talk on each day all being well focused on the meeting theme. The first plenary speaker was Dr. Karsten Reise of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Dr. Reise is a marine biologist who has concentrated on tidal flats. He gave a very interesting talk on the importance of coastal wetlands in dealing with global sea level rise with examples from the Wadden Sea and the importance of people learning to work with nature and not against it. The second plenary was given by Dr. Chris Freeman, Bangor University in Wales, UK, who presented a clear review of the enzymatic latch concept and how the role of phenolics and extracellular enzymes are central for enhancing the carbon sequestration properties of peatlands. There were good discussions during and after the oral sessions and poster presentations, with the discussions continuing later in the restaurants and pubs of historic Potsdam. Special mention must be made of the contribution of two participants from Macedonia who gave a presentation about the Studenchishte Marsh and Lake Ohrid and the plans for turning the last intact wetland bordering the lake into a tourist facility, an idea that the presenters and others opposed. During the meeting, it was learned that, because of their efforts with the assistance of SWS, the wetlands will be protected from future development. Another special item of interest was when SWS President Kim Ponzio announced that the chapter was awarded a grant from SWS for expanding membership and presented chapter Treasurer Matthew Simpson with a check for $2500. Lastly, Vittoria Giannini, of the Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna in Pisa, Italy, was the poster presentation winner.
A field trip day took place in the middle of the conference. The morning saw the participants divided into two groups with group one taking a tour of a re-wetted fen (Polder Stangenhagen) and group two visiting a post-mining area (Schlabendorfer See). Both groups joined for lunch, which was quite good and consisted of numerous specialties of German cuisine. After lunch, all went to see a wet meadows restoration project which is an EU Life project (Topchiner Seen).The multi-faceted restoration project of this calcareous fen includes not only re-wetting of previously drained meadows but grazing management using water buffalo. Unfortunately, we did not see any buffalos during our visit.
The conference dinner followed that evening with a boat ride along the River Havel, which flows through Potsdam and joins the River Spree in nearby Berlin. The food and views made for a very enjoyable evening.
All in all, it was a highly stimulating and productive meeting which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. We are all looking forward to the next annual meeting which will be held in Faro, Portugal in the first week of May, 2017 in conjunction with the European Pond Conservation Network (EPCN). Look to this space for details. A meeting website will be set-up and running by the end of this September.
10th SWS Europe Chapter Annual Meeting
Around 50 people gathered from 10-13 May, 2015 in the beautiful town of Bled, Slovenia for the 10th annual meeting of the SWS Europe chapter. Our host, Alenka Gaberščik, and her colleagues did a wonderful job in planning and running the meeting. There were two days of oral and poster presentations with a plenary talk on each day. The first plenary speaker was Prof. Dr. Boris Sket of the University of Ljubljana who gave a very interesting account of the history of cave research in Slovenia, described the hydrogeomorphological and biological characteristics of caves and emphasized their importance as wetland habitats in karstic regions. The second plenary was given by RNDr. Jan Květ, CSc. who presented a clear review of the ecological services provided by wetlands. There were good discussions during and after the oral sessions and poster presentations, with the discussions continuing later in the restaurants and pubs of Bled.
A field trip day took place in the middle of the conference. The first stop was a tour of several of the caves in the Škocjanske jame Park, which is a biosphere reserve and a world heritage site as well as being designated as the first underground Ramsar wetland of international importance. Following a delicious lunch at an agro-environmental restaurant and inn within the park, the participants visited the second site, Lake Cerknica, an intermittent lake with a wide belt of herbaceous wetlands surrounding the borders of the lake.
The conference dinner followed that evening with entertainment provided by a choir composed of faculty members from the University of Ljubljana. The quality of their singing of Slovenian folk songs would rival many professional singers. All in all, it was a highly stimulating and productive meeting which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
To view Abstracts from the meeting please click here.
9th SWS Europe Chapter Annual Meeting
More than 300 wetland scientists and practitioners travelled from 27 countries to the beautiful city of Huesca, Spain to discuss, debate and most importantly of all to celebrate wetlands. Informal debates, individual presentations and panel discussions have highlighted the importance of the wise use of wetlands and the key role they play in maintaining human wellbeing across Europe and beyond.
Key highlights from the meeting:
- Important and interesting topics were covered in presentation sessions ranging from the role of wetlands and buffer zones within green infrastructure, water treatment functions of wetlands, the key biological features of wetlands, socio-ecological aspects of wetlands and their management and the impact climate change is having on European wetland ecosystems.
- Two interesting panel discussions were held sparking energetic debates on 'Linking the wise use of wetlands with the challenges for sustainable development' and 'Integrating wetlands into the social-economic landscape: from theory to practice'.
- Dr. Jan Kvet from the Czech Republic received an award for his lifetime service in wetland science.
- Allison Gandar from the Universite de Toulouse won the student poster competition for her poster on 'Crossed-effects between temperature and pesticides on a freshwater fish of wetlands'.
- Four field trips to visit wetland restoration sites in the Gallego and Ebro river floodplains and to constructed wetlands for the treatment of agriculture runoff were an excellent opportunity to see wetland restoration and constructed wetlands in an arid climate and provided the perfect chance for participants to exchange their experiences with different restoration and design techniques.
The first SWS Europe Annual Meeting was held in Bangor, Wales, on January 5 and 6, 2006.