Introduction

That is the slogan for the 2013 World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2013.

Date:  24 January 2013

That is the slogan for the 2013 World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2013.

It is well recognised that access to a clean and adequate water supply is critical for human survival. Less well understood is that wetlands are fundamental regulators of water regimes. Without adequate management of wetlands from the mountains to the sea, there is less water of the right quality and quantity where and when it is needed and the risk of flooding is increased.

On the West Coast, we are fortunate that we have a plentiful supply of water and that wetlands continue to take care of it, storing it, filtering it and releasing it slowly.

There are challenges for land owners and managers to preserve these precious places and there are challenges for the consumer; managing water is the responsibility of all of us.

As water consumers we can commit to recycle, reuse and conserve water in our private lives whether it is through rainwater harvesting, water-friendly garden design, reducing water usage in our home or supporting our local wetland.

If you are keen to discover some of the wetlands in our region, DOC has a produced a brochure called 'Magical places, 40 wetlands to visit in New Zealand', which features five of the coast's more accessible wetlands: Mahinapua, the Wanganui estuary at Hari Hari, Okarito Lagoon, Lake Matheson at Fox Glacier and Ship Creek near Haast. Follow the link in the box above and find out how you can discover the beauty of wetlands along tracks and boardwalks.

Free boat trips for locals on Okarito Lagoon!

To celebrate World Wetlands Day, Okarito Boat Tours and DOC have teamed up to offer local residents a free boat trip out on the lagoon on Saturday 2 or Sunday 3 February. Spaces are limited and bookings are essential. Call Okarito Boat Tours on + 64 3 753 4223 or info@okaritoboattours.co.nz to reserve a seat. The trips are suitable for all ages, so why not bring the family!

Okarito Lagoon is New Zealand's largest unmodified wetland, and it is an extremely important part of the West Coast ecosystem. It filters water, reduces flooding and provides habitat for a huge range of birds and other species, including the kotuku and migratory species like the godwit. It attracts human visitors from all over the world as well - yet many local residents have never explored it. Now's your chance to do it for free! 

View across Okarito Lagoon. Photo: Andris Apse.
A spectacular view across Okarito Lagoon to the Southern Alps


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