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Manawatu Estuary in Foxton gets world ranking

Manawatu Estuary in Foxton gets world ranking

The Manawatu Estuary in Foxton has been recognised internationally as being as environmentally important as Loch Lomond, the Firth of Thames and the coast of Monaco.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today that the area had gained listing as a wetland of international significance under the RAMSAR convention, an inter-government treaty on the conservation of wetlands.

"The Manawatu Estuary has joined a worldwide list of renowned sites," Mr Carter said.

“Its listing under the RAMSAR convention is prestigious and gives international recognition to the value of the estuary as a saltmarsh and mudflat that provides both an important habitat for threatened species, and a local recreation area,” said Mr Carter.

"The estuary has one of the most diverse ranges of birds to be seen at any one place in New Zealand; a total of 93 species have been identified at the estuary.

“The estuary is also a permanent home to 13 species of birds, six species of fish and four plants species, all of which are threatened. It regularly supports about one percent of the world population of wrybills.”

Mr Carter said the hard work of the Horowhenua branch of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society Inc and the Manawatu Estuary Trust, in particular its chairwoman Joan Leckie was pivotal in obtaining the listing.

“She is a champion for conservation and it was due to her vision and leadership that the case for RAMSAR status was so successful. Mrs Leckie’s efforts from conception to completion have lead to the Manawatu Estuary being recognised worldwide,” said Mr Carter.

The estuary is the sixth New Zealand RAMSAR site, and only the second estuary along with the Firth of Thames.

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