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On the Paraclet site in the Somme department, the Onema training centre and the neighbouring agricultural school have set up an original partnership to manage the surrounding fens. In January, the opening ceremony for the World Wetlands Day was held on the site.

The topic of the meeting organised in the framework of the World Wetlands Day, "Forming partnerships between agriculture and wetlands", was exemplified by efforts on the Paraclet site, located in the heart of the Natura 2000 site in the Somme marshes. Over the past year, the Onema training centre, located on 28 hectares including vulnerable alkaline fens, has launched a study with the Paraclet agricultural school that is located on the other bank of the Noye River and also owns Natura 2000 land. The objective is to "develop an exemplary management system for the entire area, combining agricultural practices and preservation of ecosystems", explains Pierre Caessteker, the wetlands scientific officer at Onema.

A technical partnership

In 2013, restoration work was carried out on the site, including the cutting and stump removal of a poplar grove, emptying and temporary drying of several ponds (representing 3.5 hectares) to encourage the growth of reeds and the installation of birds, and restoration of the supply channel. All the necessary elements are now in place to experiment a "differentiated" form of site management, targeting the maintenance of a diverse set of ecosystems. "Installations that allow us to precisely manage water levels are an important tool in regulating woody plants", explains Pierre Caessteker. And Nantaise heifers will also play a management role by grazing the neighbouring fens." The project must now be formally set up. "We are working on a technical partnership, bringing together not only Onema and the agricultural school, but also a number of key players such as the Picardie nature conservatory, the Picardie section of the Bailleul national botanical conservatory, and Ameva, the manager of the Natura 2000 site", indicates Pierre Caessteker. The agreements will be signed in 2015. Other restoration work will also be carried out in the years to come, notably efforts to limit woody plants.

Official launch of the Word Wetlands Day

The official launch of the World Wetlands Day took place on 31 January at the Paraclet centre, our future "demonstration site" for sustainable management and environmental training at the crossroads between ecology and agriculture. The Onema training centre served as the venue for the day of meetings and presentations, bringing together representatives of the Ecology and Agriculture ministries, the Water agencies, the national network managers, local partners and the press. The agenda included the signing of the charter for the wetland centres, a visit of the site and a presentation of the management project by Onema and the agricultural school, plus a round-table discussion on the topic of "Agriculture and wetlands, How can wetlands be rehabilitated, restored and managed in the context of the ecological-network programme?". The site for the discussion was ideal!

Onema Paraclet training centre.


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