Mexico designates 122nd and 123rd Ramsar Sites
The government of Mexico is continuing its ambitious and far-sighted campaign, begun in 2004, to celebrate annual World Wetlands Days with the designation of further Wetlands of International Importance. Two more for which the paperwork has just been completed, El Jagüey "Buenavista de Peñuelas" and Lago de Chapala, bring Mexico's total number of Ramsar Sites to 123, a national total second only to that of the United Kingdom.
El Jagüey, "Buenavista de Peñuelas". 02/02/2011; Aguascalientes; 35 ha; 21°43' N 102°19'W. The site features six seasonal freshwater and two artificial ponds that are home to eight species of amphibians (four of them endemic to Mexico) and five species of invertebrates endemic to this wetland, as well as to the only viable breeding population currently known worldwide of the endangered species Smilisca dentata (Upland Burrowing Treefrog), whose habitat type, the natural grassland-huizachal, is restricted. Natural floods during the summer are key to the balance of the biological community gathering as part of their life cycles, such as feeding, breeding, resting and shelter. Adverse factors affecting the site include motor traffic on the boulevard to the Jesus Teran Airport causing the trampling of individuals of the Smilisca dentata, the construction of houses, warehouses and silos for livestock feed, and an increase in the number of paddocks. The planned creation of a Natural Protected Area in the Category of Sanctuary of the Upland Burrowing Treefrog which will consist of 201 ha, including all eight ponds of the Ramsar Site. There is presently no management plan in place, but it will be prepared after the Ramsar designation. Ramsar Site no. 1972. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Lago de Chapala. 02/02/2009; Jalisco, Michoacán; 114,659 ha; 20°14´N 103°03´W. Lake Chapala, in the western part of Mexico, is the largest lake in the country, the 3rd largest in Latin America, and said to be the 2nd highest in the Americas, surpassed only by Lake Titicaca. It serves as an area of refuge, feeding, hibernation and breeding for birds, of which migratory waterfowl are the most important, with a population of over 20,000 birds. The site is home to endemic species, of which the most representative are fish species such as Menidia contrerasi, Menidia sphyraena, Ictalurus dugesii, and Menidia promelas. It also supports endangered bird species such as Botaurus lentiginosus and Rallus limicola and mammals like the Mexican Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris nivalis) and the Collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu), as well as the endangered Puma (Felis concolor). The lake is vitally important to the surrounding communities, not least because it is the largest water source in the country and the main water supply source for the metropolitan area of Guadalajara. In addition, the site has a favorable influence on the temperature and precipitation regimes in the region and is an important source of employment for locals, who benefit mainly from fishing and tourism. The lake has suffered the consequences of numerous water projects, modifications of the environment and pollution. A Conservation and Management Programme for Lake Chapala has been developed and will become effective in 2011. Ramsar Site no. 1973. Most recent RIS information: 2011.