Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

WHSRNews Special Note

WHSRN Celebrates World Wetlands Day 2016


Renseignements en français

Happy World Wetlands Day 2016! 

Today honors the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, held in the Iranian coastal city of Ramsar on 2 February 1971. The global, intergovernmental treaty adopted at this historic gathering provided the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. 

The theme for World Wetlands Day 2016 is “Wetlands for Our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods.” 

The message is simple: “Livelihoods from fishing, rice farming, travel, tourism, and water provision all depend on wetlands. And wetlands also host a huge variety of life, protect our coastlines, provide natural sponges against river flooding, and store carbon dioxide to regulate climate change. Unfortunately, wetlands are often viewed as wasteland, and more than 64% of our wetlands have disappeared since 1900. Enabling people to make a decent living and, at the same time, ensuring wetlands' ability to still provide their essential benefits, do not have to be conflicting goals!”

WHSRN partners have an added reason to celebrate wetlands: vital habitat and resources for SHOREBIRDS. Wetland habitats, of which there are many types, comprise the majority of WHSRN sites. To date, 37 WHSRN sites (of 92, or 43% of the Network) are also Ramsar sites or within one, covering a total of 6.4 million hectares (15.7 million acres) of wetland habitats.

Our newest WHSRN-Ramsar Site is the Barba Azul Nature Reserve in Bolivia, part of the 7-million-hectare "Bolivian Llanos de Moxos" Ramsar site! See the full list of WHSRN-Ramsar sites.

Many WHSRN sites are celebrating World Wetlands Day across the hemisphere. Below are just a few. Visit Ramsar's interactive map of events to find others near you.

How many shorebirds rely on wetlands? A LOT. / Courtesy of Ramsar Convention

Canada, Bay of Fundy: Simonds High School is celebrating the day at Simonds Pond, Saint John, New Brunswick.

USA, South San Diego Bay: San Diego Audubon Society is hosting “Love Your Wetlands Day” at Kendall-Frost Marsh (just north of the WHSRN site).

USA, Delaware Bay: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is hosting the Delaware Wetlands Conference in Wilmington, Delaware.

USA, Cheyenne Bottoms: Arkansas River Rivershed is guiding a field trip to Lake Aston, and a virtual tour of all the major wetlands of Cheyenne Bottoms in central Kansas.

Chile, Rio Maipo: There will be a celebration at the Rio Maipo Natural Wetland Park.

Uruguay, Laguna de Rocha: Probides is celebrating the day at Bañados del Este, a Ramsar site north of the WHSRN site.

Ecuador, Lagunas de Ecuasal: In Salinas, Santa Elena Province, the Ministry of Environment will host a “Wetlands for our Future” conference. Ana Agreda, Project Coordinator for Conserving Priority Areas for Migratory Waterbirds, will be participating.

Paraguay, Bahía de Asunción: The Secretary of the Environment and Guyra Paraguay will commemorate the day in the Guazú Metropolitan Park beginning at 10 a.m., with short presentations and a walking tour of the park, including birdwatching, with ornithologist Arne Lesterhuis.

Multiple events are being held across other WHSRN country partners, including Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Like / Follow WHSRN and #avesplayeras on Facebook and Twitter to see how WHSRN partners around the hemisphere are celebrating World Wetlands Day in their communities. 

Most importantly, we can all make or reaffirm a personal commitment this year to help conserve wetlands through everyday actions – from sharing their importance with friends, to reducing our water consumption.