Report of the 15th Seminar on Ramsar Site Stakeholders in France

The 15th Seminar on Ramsar Site Stakeholders was held from 27 to 29 September 2023 in Saint-Dizier (Haute-Marne), France, next to the Ramsar Site “Etangs de la Champagne Humide”.



It was organised by the Etablissement Public Territorial de Bassin (EPTB) Seine Grands lacs, PNR Forêt d’Orient and Association Ramsar France under the theme of “The unpredictability of water in an era of climate change: wetlands as a solution“. The seminar, conducted by Frédéric DENHEZ, brought together more than 200 participants.


The group photo


The 15th Ramsar Seminar was opened by Bernard Chevassus-au-Louis, as the keynote speaker.



The first session, characterized by fruitful discussions, provided an opportunity to share experiences on the advantages of wetlands in water management in different ecosystems – Val d’Allier, the Somme watershed, and the Jura Mountains.



The morning session continued with the screening of the film ‘Etangs de la Champagne Humide,’ directed by Laurent Charbonnier. Subsequently, there were interventions by representatives of the organizations that signed the ‘Water and Climate‘ Territorial Contract for the Etangs de la Champagne Humide. They included the Agence de l’Eau Seine Normandie, the DREAL Grand Est, the Conseil Régional Grand Est, the CPIE Sud Champagne, the Conservatoire d’Espaces Naturels de Champagne-Ardenne, the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux, the EPTB Seine Grands Lacs, and the Parc Naturel Régional de la Forêt d’Orient.


Signature of the Territorial Contract for the Etangs de la Champagne Humide


This Territorial Contract includes actions amounting to nearly €600,000 for:

  • Developing and enhancing the image and territorial identity of the Etangs de la Champagne Humide (7 actions) ;
  • Improving knowledge and fostering sustainable practices (5 actions) ; and
  • Ensuring the sustainable development and planning of the territory (5 actions)

In the afternoon, the third session was devoted to the link between agriculture and wetlands, followed by a questions and answers session on the importance of soils.



The day ended with a final session devoted to the Etangs de la Champagne Humide and the presentation of the 2023-2025 Guidance Document for the site.



In the evening, at the Ciné-quai cinema in Saint-Dizier, the public had the opportunity to attend a screening followed by a lively discussion. This event provided an avenue for the audience to explore Laurent Charbonnier’s film “Etangs de la Champagne Humide” along with a specially curated collection of excerpts from Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s documentary “Vivant”, created exclusively for the seminar by Hope Productions.



The second day was dedicated to field visits at the Etangs de la Champagne Humide. It provided a valuable opportunity to explore the diverse ecosystems comprising the largest Ramsar site in metropolitan France, and to engage in discussions with the numerous stakeholders actively involved in the area.

Three itineraries allowed participants to explore the following options:

  • “Belval” tour in the northern part of the Ramsar Site: preservation of the yellow-bellied toad in the Forêt de Trois Fontaines; visit to the Belval-en-Argonne Ponds Regional Nature Reserve; and visit to the village museum of the Pays du Der.
  • “Der” tour in the central part of the site: visit to the Lac du Der RNCFS and the ponds of Outines and Arrigny; visit to the village museum of the Pays du Der; and guided tour of the “Marne” reservoir structure.
  • “Orient” tour in the southern part of the site: visit to the ROYER artisan pottery workshop in Soulaines-Dhuys; excursion in the Grand Orient Forest on the shores of the reservoir lake; and guided tour of the “Aube” reservoir structure.


The Belval-en-Argonne Ponds Regional Nature Reserve


The Lac du Der. Photo by G.Payet


Mare de la forêt d’Orient. Photo by G.Gayet


Each seminar is an opportunity to (re)discover the products of the Ramsar territories. This was once again the case this year during an “evening of local flavors” accompanied by the music of the band Joli Falzar!


The evening of local flavors


Furthermore, the third day of the seminar, characterized by an unusual format, commenced with a “Soil Fresco” workshop led by the Association française d’étude des sols (AFES).


The Soil Fresco workshop


Subsequently, the attendees returned to the theater in Saint-Dizier for a session focused on the dynamics of the Ramsar Label at the Etangs de la Champagne Humide site.



Then, there was a session dedicated to national news on wetlands, including the commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Luc Hoffmann’s birth, the presentation of the Ramsar Site of Dombes, and the latest developments from the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion, which notably announced the reintroduction of category IOTA



The morning and the seminar were concluded with a speech by Jérôme BIGNON, President of Ramsar France, and an announcement by Giovanni PAYET, Deputy Director of the RNN of the Etang de Saint-Paul, of the 16th Ramsar Seminar, which will take place from May 22-26 May 2024 in La Réunion.


Jérôme Bignon (right) and Giovanni Payet (left)



The 15th national Ramsar Seminar was organised by :

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Mercredi 27 septembre

  • Session 1 : Retour d’expériences, les atouts des zones humides

– Atouts des zones humides alluviales dans le contexte du changement climatique
Estelle COURNEZ, Directrice – Conservatoire d’espaces naturels Allier

– Anticiper les effets du changement climatique pour une gestion adaptée de l’eau et des zones humides
Olivier MOPTY, Directeur – EPTB Somme

– Le programme LIFE Climat Tourbières du Jura et l’apport de la GEMAPI
Pierre DURLET – PNR du Haut-Jura et Geneviève MAGNON – EPAGE Haut‑Doubs Haute-Loue

  • Session 3 : L’agriculture et les zones humides

– L’intelligence coopérative au service du vivant
Jacques THOMAS, directeur de groupe coopératif Eïwa, président de l’Association Française pour l’Etude du Sol (AFES)

  • Session Grand témoin

– Ménager les zones humides : le défi des métasystèmes dynamiques
Bernard CHEVASSUS-AU-LOUIS, biologiste et zoologiste

  • Session 4 : Focus sur le site Ramsar « Etangs de la Champagne Humide » 

– Présentation du Document d’orientation du site Ramsar « Etangs de la Champagne Humide »
Claire PARISE, Cheffe du pôle environnement – Parc naturel régional de la Forêt d’Orient et Maud POTIER, Chargée de projet animation Ramsar Etangs de la Champagne Humide – Seine Grands Lacs

Vendredi 29 septembre

  • Session 6 : Dynamique autour du label Ramsar des étangs de la Champagne humide

– L’intérêt du site Ramsar pour les oiseaux et son évolution au cours des 40 dernières années
Aymeric MIONNET, Responsable pôle connaissance et conservation – LPO Champagne-Ardenne
Florian MILLOT, Conservateur de la RNCFS du lac du Der – Office français de la biodiversité

– Retour d’expérience sur la gestion par assec des étangs : effets sur les milieux naturels et la biodiversité
Yohann BROUILLARD, Responsable de coordination des antennes Aube et Haute‑Marne – CEN Champagne-Ardenne



Source: Ramsar France