Mexico Designates Four Ramsar Sites
17 March 2012: The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) has announced that the Government of Mexico has designated four additional Wetlands of International Importance, bringing its total number of Ramsar Sites to 133.
The first site, "Área Natural Protegida Estatal Presa de Silva y Zonas Aledañas," supports various habitat types and aquatic birds, both resident and migratory. According to Ramsar, the site plays an important role in sustaining terrestrial wildlife under adequate water quality conditions in the region.
The second site, "Lagunas de Santa María-Topolobampo-Ohuira," is a World Heritage site, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve. According to Ramsar, it consists of a system of three coastal lagoons with eight islands. The site supports mangroves and 84% of the migratory waterfowl distributed in Mexico during the winter. It plays a shoreline stabilizer role during flooding and storms. The main threat to the site is wastewater discharges, especially agricultural runoff, to the coastal zone.
The third site, "Presa La Vega," is an artificial wetland including a dam and open water. Being the largest water body in the state's central-western area, it generates jobs and is the main source of water for surrounding irrigation systems. The site supports various waterfowl species and its main threat is water pollution from neighboring communities.
The fourth site, "Presa Manuel Ávila Camacho," is part of an important wildlife corridor. According to Ramsar, it provides refuge to at least 97 species of migratory birds, and supports a range of species of birds, mammals and reptiles under national protection. Threats to the site include urban and industrial growth, as well as deforestation.
Mexico's designations contribute to one of the goals contained in the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan for 2009-2015, which is to reach a protected area of 250 million hectares by 2015. [Ramsar Press Release]