World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually on 2 February. This is the day in 1971 that the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Since 1997, the day has been devoted to raising public awareness of the importance of wetlands - a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem.

Wetlands provide habitats for niche organisms that are dependent on wetlands for their existence. They act as nesting areas for fish and wildlife to lay eggs and raise their young. Wetlands also serve as natural filters. As streams and rivers flow through wetlands, they filter sediment from the water. One of the biggest reasons wetlands are of importance and concern is that coastal marshes dampen the effects of high tides and high wave storms that have become increasingly common in recent years.

As sea level rises, wetlands environments are often drowned out and destroyed. Our teams work with government agencies and other state/local regulators to implement measures to enhance the ability of marshes to withstand sea level rise.

Some ways we help restore wetlands are to create small channels by breaking barriers like dykes to allow for natural water flow. This enables the water to drop its sediment loads and then move back out. We are also working on an innovative activity called thin layer dispersion, by spraying clean sediment from channel dredging in layers over the marsh to allow for a gradual increase in height.

Anyone can become involved by raising their awareness and understanding of the natural environment. You can visit wildlife refuges or wetlands websites. Once people become informed and see the value of wetlands, the ability to manage these beautiful systems becomes much easier.

The biologists and wetland ecologists within Amec Foster Wheeler have been actively involved in the management of wetland resources at a variety of sites around the world. We provide sound, science-based support to our customers that allows for the appropriate use of wetland resources consistent with local and national regulations.