The Gavot Plateau wetlands
The Gavot Plateau wetlands were classified "protected zones" in September 2008, within the framework of the international Ramsar Convention.
This remarkable site merited a visit by the French Secretary of State for Ecology, Chantal Jouanno, in April 2009. Indeed, the Gavot Plateau is home to the greatest grouping of wetlands in the Haute-Savoie department, due to not only the surface area of its marshlands and peat bogs (85%), but also their exceptional biological diversity and good state of conservation. The plateau includes a network of 88 wetlands varying from 0.5 to 24 hectares in size, scattered over nine districts of the Evian Country. The site stands out for the great variety of its natural environments (21 of which enjoy European-level protection) and of its plant and animal life.
300 species of plants have been identified, 23 of which are protected. Numerous protected plant species have been identified. One of the most remarkable is the Liparis loeselii, an orchid protected at the European level that thrives in this area. The plateau's animal life is also rich and of great interest, including at least three species of European-level importance (the yellow fire-bellied toad, the southern damselfly and the white-clawed crayfish).
The site's protection is of environmental as well as economic importance. Protecting the Gavot area wetlands contributes to preserving the aquifer exploited by Evian Mineral Waters Ltd, which taps the springs located at the foot of the plateau's northern slope. On the Gavot Plateau, rainwater and snowmelt are slowly filtered and purified via the multiple geological strata (at a speed of around 300 metres per year), before becoming natural mineral water. The minimum filtration time is 15 years. If the Gavot Plateau's meadows or marshes were to be polluted, the impact would therefore be visible some 15 years later in the water bubbling up from the spring. For this reason, APIEME ("Association for the Protection of the Evian Mineral Water Catchment Area") was created in 1992 to monitor and protect this basin. The association receives two-thirds of its funding from Evian Mineral Waters and the rest from the water basin's towns (Evian, Publier, Neuvecelle and Maxilly).
Located between the towns of Evian and Publier, the Pré-Curieux is a 3.5-hectare garden dedicated to water and wetland protection. This "educational meadow" was created so as to raise awareness among visitors - particularly, school children – of the importance of such areas, their plant and animal life, and their role in filtrating water from the mountains to the lake. The Pré-Curieux can only be accessed by a solar-powered catamaran leaving from the Evian quay.
The Pré Curieux Web site. .
For more information: +33 (0)4 50 70 15 44.