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Eutrophication in the southeast Kattegat was obvious in the mid-1970s, when high populations of green algae (Cladophora) were present, impacting water and beach recreation. When the resulting oxygen depletion killed the bottom-dwelling sea life in the early-1980s, problems became acute in the Laholm Bay. Therefore, and as a result of a major multidisciplinary study of land use in the end of the 1980s, wetland projects began with experimental constructions in the Laholm Bay watershed (southern Halland). The idea was that minimising leakage and release of nitrogen from farmed land was not the only solution, but to be augmented by increasing the opportunities of the watershed to manage nitrogen.
In Halland, there is now a long history and much experience working with wetlands to protect coastal waters, and the interest for wetlands continues to grow. Now at the beginning of the 21st century, communities are committed to minimising nitrogen transport to our coasts with the help of wetlands in the agricultural landscape. During recent years, the idea of wetlands has also come to ecological management of urban runoff and storm water. The city of Halmstad utilises wetland systems as a natural element in the planning and design of urban developments.
This experience together with other research projects has provided a wealth of knowledge and unique competence in several organisations in Halland. This competence is brought together at the Wetland Research Centre in order to develop appropriate application of wetland ecology and convey information to the community. The intention is that the Centre functions as a national and international resource for wetland questions. Wetland technology is still very young and research and development can improve environmental benefits and cost effectiveness.
At the Wetland Research Centre, theory and practice are combined. It is affiliated to Halmstad University, which is characterised by innovative thinking, and co-operation with the surrounding community. The vision is a centre of excellence stimulating the development of wetland applications as a natural component in land use planning and water resource management.