WWT Consulting visit Humedal Tunquén
Bea López and Gareth Bradbury travelled to Chile a few days ago to work on the first WWT Consulting project in the country, which aims to provide advice on habitat management and the establishment of interpretation facilities at Humedal Tunquén (Casablanca, Chile).
The area comprises over 100ha of wetland habitats including the Casablanca Creek, marshes, reedbed and dune system. It is considered one of the hotspots for biodiversity in central Chile, hosting over 80 species of birds, 17 species of mammals and 200 species of plants, with a high proportion of endemisms. Its undeniable cultural importance lies in the existence of 14 archaeological sites scattered around the study area, dating back to the pre-Hispanic period.
Our client, Asociación Humedal Tunquén , have been gathering ecological and physical data from the site for years in order to grant the wetlands with legal protection. As a result, the area was designated a Nature Sanctuary in 2015 as a recognition to the uniqueness of its habitats and importance of the wetlands as a wintering ground for migratory birds; however, it faces considerable challenges due to large scale development projects and unsustainable water management practices going on throughout the Casablanca catchment.
After visiting the wetlands, we ran a masterplanning workshop with the technical team in order to gather as much information as possible on their vision for the site, audiences to target, key interpretation messages, and future management.
We also organised a session with the local community and environmental authorities to highlight the ecosystem services provided by Humedal Tunquén, and therefore the need to safeguard those benefits through sustainable management in the long term.
It is an absolute pleasure to be working with such an enthusiastic and committed team, and we look forward to supporting our client during their (very) brave initiative to protect the Tunquén wetlands.