The Annotated Ramsar List: Mexico
The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance
MEXICO / MEXIQUE
The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Mexico on 4 November 1986. Mexico presently has 142 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 8,833,752 hectares.
site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas
Agua Dulce. 02/02/08; Sonora; 39 ha; 31º55'N 113º01'W. Located within the Biosphere Reserve “Del Picante y Desierto de Altar”, which highlights the only riparian ecosystem of the region, Sonoyta river, considered of binational interest and shared between the USA and Mexico. At present, there is a mutual interest in establishing indicators for its management and conservation. Agua Dulce is a 3km stretch of the Sonoyta where water comes to the surface, creating conditions of an oasis in a desert. Among the main species found in the site is the Pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius), listed as endangered by the US and as endemic and endangered in Mexico’s legal system. There is a considerable presence of the turtle species Kinonsternon sonoriense longifemorale. The resident and migratory bird species that use the Pacific Flyway find in Agua Dulce a habitat of importance for food, shelter, resting and reproduction. Agua Dulce is characteristic for retaining water throughout the year, acting as the main source of water for wildlife in the area, and supporting an excellent biological diversity. Ramsar site no. 1813. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Anillo de Cenotes. 02/02/09; Yucatán; 891 ha; 20º43'21"N 089º19'23"W. A complex of 99 cenotes (or sinkholes) that cover approximately 5 km wide with a radius of 90 km in a zone of high permeability. Anillo de Cenotes ("ring of cenotes") is a unique water system in Mexico and the world and is the product of a large meteor impact 65 million years ago, the Chicxulub Crater, which fractured the surface layers of the Earth's crust and led to the ring alignment of the aquifer outcrops. It forms a cavernous complex network which acts as a weir and pipeline of large bodies of water. These cenotes serve as resting grounds for waterfowl during their migration to the South and hold endemic species of reptiles, such as the Yucatan Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina yucatana), amphibians like the Yucatan Mushroomtongue Salamander (Bolitoglossa yucatana), and birds such as the Ridgway's Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx ridgwayi), the Yucatan Jay (Cyanocorax yucatanicus), and the Black Catbird (Melanoptila glabirostris). The cenotes are also home to a number of endangered or threatened species, such as the fish species Ogilbia pearsei, Ophisternon infernale, and Poecilia velifera. Among the factors adversely affecting the site are the accidental introduction of exotic species, environmental changes due to tourism, and the extraction of large volumes of water for tourist resorts. Ramsar Site no. 2043. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Cuatrociénegas. 22/06/95; Coahuila; 84,347 ha; 26º51'N 102º08'W. Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna. An intermontane valley with springs linked by a channel system, keeping the water circulating constantly; includes extensive areas subject to flooding. There are gypsum deposits in the form of dunes, one of only three such landforms in North America. Riparian woodland, grassland, montane forests, chaparral and desert scrub communities are present. Long isolation in specialized habitats has given rise to high biological diversity and endemism, with the site providing habitat for numerous threatened or vulnerable species. Human activities include plant collection, limited grazing and agriculture, and sport fishing. Industrial-scale extraction of minerals from gypsum dunes has occurred since 1979. Ramsar site no. 734. Most recent RIS information: 2002.
Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Laguna de Términos. 02/02/04; Campeche; 705,016 ha; 18°40'N 091°45'W. Wildlife Reserve. The largest coastal lagoon on the Mexican shore of the Gulf of Mexico. Mangrove forests of approximately 127,000 ha are a major feature and produce as much as 716,000 tons of dead leaves every year. The coastal waters are enriched with nutrients by upwelling and turbulence, while the lagoon receives freshwater from rivers and swamps. Other vegetation types are evergreen tropical forest, thorny forest, palmetto (Sabal Mexicana) forest, reedbeds of cattail (Typha latifolia) and Jointed Flatsedge (Cyperus articulatum), and patches of Bent Alligator Flag Thalia geniculata. Flagship animals of the site include the Jabiru Jabiru mycteria, the Horseshoe Crab Limulus polyphemus and endemic amphibians Rana brownorum, Bolitoglossa yucatana; and reptiles Anolis ustus, A. cozumelae,A. quercorum, amongst others. Ciudad del Carmen, with a population of almost 100,000, is an important industrial port located on the barrier island of the lagoon. A variety of fishing, agricultural and livestock raising activities are done in the site, all of which are causing problems of sedimentation, pollution, deforestation and reduction of stocks. Further conflicts have arisen with the oil pipes that traverse the area. Ramsar site no. 1356.Most recent RIS information: 2004. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Yum Balam. 02/02/04; Quintana Roo; 154,052 ha; 21º28'N 087º19'W. Wildlife Sanctuary. A coastal lagoon and a mosaique of low and medium forests on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, home to a rich fauna., including the jaguar, Baird's Tapir Tapirus bairdii, Crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus and C. moreletii), sea turtles, American Manatees Trichechus manatus, Spiny Lobsters Panulirus argus, and the near -threatened Ocellated Turkey Agriocharis ocellata. Besides the well preserved forests, noteworthy vegetation communities are those of Everglades palms (Acoelorreaphe wrightii), mangroves and petenes. Fishing is the main income source for locals yet the main problem for the area as well, as fishing intensity has increased and stocks diminished. Tourism, forestry, cattle ranching and agriculture are of low intensity today, yet their impact could grow in the next years. Ramsar site no. 1360. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Área Natural Protegida Estatal Presa de Silva y Zonas Aledañas. 02/02/11; Guanajuato; 3,934 ha; 20°55'37"N 101°50'48"W. State Natural Protected Area. A number of dams with shallow waters presenting different habitats, including emerged vegetation and flooded vegetation areas whose climatic, trophic, structural and functional characteristics make them important sites for aquatic birds, both resident and migratory. The migratory birds share distribution of habitat with the USA and Canada within the Central Americas Flyway. There are records of 79 species of birds in the site such as Anas platyrhynchos diazi, Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos, Fulica americana, Recurvirostra americana, Ardea alba, Egretta thula, and Charadrius vociferus, among others. The site plays an important role in sustaining terrestrial wildlife under adequate water quality conditions in the region. The Ramsar Site is located within the Natural Protected Area Presa de Silva y Zonas Aledañas declared in 1997 and contains a portion outside the protected area, including important groundwater recharge areas and other streams that have to be protected as well. Ramsar Site no. 2024. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Áreas de Protección de Flora y Fauna de Nahá y Metzabok. 02/02/04; Chiapas; 7,216 ha; 17º03'N 091º36'W. Natural Protected Area. Part of the Selva Lacandona region, considered the most important for biodiversity in North America, as the physiographic conditions and humidity enhance the development of ecosystems ranging from pine tree forests and marshes to tall everlasting forests and produce a high number of animal and vegetal species per surface unit. Some 40,000 species of fauna and flora live in these habitats - in other words, an area of only 0.4% of the country's surface contains 48% of the birds species, 33% of bats, 11% of the reptiles and 25% of the mammals of Mexico. The importance of the Selva Lacandona region for biodiversity is highlighted by the presence of 5 other protected areas in the surroundings, though the main threats (water pollution from pesticides, habitat fragmentation, fire risk, and land invasion due to a poor productivity of the surrounding cultivated lands) are still threatening this area. Ramsar site no. 1331. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Arroyos y manantiales de Tanchachín. 02/02/08; San Luis Potosí; 21°50'N 099°08'W. Located in the Huasteca region, southeast of the Sierra Madre Oriental, the system is a source of water and has a great number of streams and springs. It supports a number of fauna species found under national special protection such as the Lithobates berlandieri, Crocodylus moreletii, Buteogallus anthracinus, Myotis nigricans, and Panthera onca which is endangered. The site also supports endemic species at a national level, which are also threatened, such as Ctenosaura pectinata, Pituophis deppei andVireo griseus. Many flora species found in the site are of great importance for the surrounding human communities, such as of Cedrela mexicana (artisanal use and precious woods), Sabal mexicana (domestic use for the construction of roofs), Acacia farnesiana (construction of fences), Quercus oleoides (domestic use as a combustible), Persea americana, Manilkara zapota y Diospyros digyna (as a source of food). The present uses of land are agriculture (mainly sugar cane) and livestock, which are also considered the main threats to this site. Ramsar site no. 1766. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Bahía de San Quintín. 02/02/08 ; Baja California; 5,438 ha; 30°26’N 115°58’W. Located in a Mediterranean transitional biogeographic region between temperate and subtropical zones, the site is home to a number of threatened or endangered bird species such as Rallus longirostris levipes, Laterallus jamaicensis, Sterna antillarum browni, Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi, Polioptila californica atwoodi and Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus, and holds the densest population of Polioptila californica atwoodi couples. It is the only area in the Pacific coast of Baja California where Laterallus jamaicensis have been sighted. More than 25,000 migratory waterbirds hibernate in the wetland, which supports 30-50% of the total Branta bernicla nigricans population during that period. Astragalus harrisonii, Chorizanthe chaetophora, Chorizanthe interposita, Chorizanthe jonesiana are endemic flora species of the Mediterranean area found here. The collection of bivalve mollusks, mining, salt mines, hunting, livestock and sand and gravel extraction are among the most important economic activities carried out in the site. The extensive use of agrochemicals, as well as disorganized urban growth, are the main factors that negatively affect the bay. Ramsar site no. 1775. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Bala'an K'aax. 02/02/04; Quintana Roo; 131,610 ha; 19º19'N 089º03'W. Reserva Estatal. Flooded low everlasting forests, with an endemic vegetation type from the Yucatán peninsula. They are a shelter for the great majority of animal species in the region, enhanced by the site's inaccessibility. The importance of the area's vegetation lies in the great quantity of endemic species, but also because it supplies water for the region and other, more coastal wetlands. Because of the karstic nature of the ground, a complex subterranean system is present, including an associated unique and unknown biodiversity. The area contains around 601 vertebrate species, of which 27% are threatened, under special protection or endangered according to international or national lists. Changes in land property and planning are the main threat to this area. Ramsar site no. 1332. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Balandra. 02/02/08; Baja California Sur; 449 ha; 24°19’N 110°20’W. A coastal wetland in the Gulf of California that supports the largest mangrove community in La Paz Bay, including three of the four mangrove species found in Mexico: Rhizophora mangle, Avicenia germinans and Laguncularia racemosa. It belongs to the Neartic biogeographic region, characteristic of North America, and is a breeding site for migratory and resident birds such as Pelicanus occidentales, Pandion haliaetus, Fregata magnificens and Egretta caerulea.. The dominant reptile species is the Dipsosaurus dorsalis and the most abundant the Callisaurus dracanoides, which is also threatened. The richness in marine mammals is one of the highest in the world, including whales species such as Balaenoptera physalus, Balaenoptera edén, Megaptera novaeangliae and Eschrichtius robustus. There are records of seven among the eleven recognized species of baleen whales and 20 of the 68 of the toothed whales. Among the hydrological values provided are coast line stabilization, protection against storms, and retention of sediments and nutrients. Balandra is a recreational center for local visitors, who use the site mainly for artisanal fishing of bivalves and fish. Ramsar site no. 1767. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Baño de San Ignacio. 02/02/09; Nuevo Léon; 4,225 ha; 24°52'00"N 099°20'41"W. The protected area includes a hydrothermal sulphurous spring that serves as habitat for five endemic species of fish: Astyanax mexicanus, Cyprinodon nv. sp, Fundulus ca. grandis, Poecilia ca. formosa and Cichlastoma nv. sp. In addition, the area supports a great diversity of waterfowl, such as Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), White-fronted goose (Anser albifrons), Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Mottled Duck (Anas fluvigula), and pintail (Anas acuta), among others. Unregulated tourist activities are a source of contamination and a major threat to the site. Another threat in the region is the coypu (Myocastor coypus Molina), which is an introduced rodent native to South America. The site was declared an Area Subject to Ecological Conservation in 2000. Ramsar Site no. 1981. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Canal del Infiernillo y esteros del territorio Comcaac (Xepe Coosot).27/11/2009; Sonora; 29,700 ha; 29°10'N 112°14'W. A channel between Island Tiburón and the Sonora coast in northwestern Mexico, characterized by the presence of sea-grass beds, mangrove estuaries, seasonal creeks and small coral reef patches. The sea-grass beds are the largest concentration of annual marine grasses in the eastern Pacific, and the mangroves are located at the northern limit of this vegetation type. These wetlands provide refuge, substrate and food to several species that are the basis for commercial and artisanal fisheries. In addition, the site is habitat of 81 endemic invertebrate species of Gulf of California and several threatened species, such as mangroves (Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Rhizophora mangle), totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), marine turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata, Caretta caretta, Dermochelys coriaceai, Lepidochelys olivacea and Chelonia mydas agassizi) and Brant Goose (Branta bernicla). For more than 2000 years the ethnic group Comcaac has inhabited this region and show an extensive ecological traditional knowledge, upon which they base their fisheries management practices.
In contrast to several other regions in the Gulf, the seabeds in the site have not been disturbed by the nets of shrimp vessels, but they are currently threatened by overfishing and tourist development. Ramsar site no. 1891. Most recent RIS information: 2009.
Cascadas de Texolo y su entorno. 02/02/06; Veracruz; 500 ha; 19°24'N 097°00'W. Situated in the Neovolcanic Transversal Axis, the Texolo waterfalls are a wetland surrounded by mountain cloud forests that host a high proportion of endemic fauna and flora, as well as internationally threatened and vulnerable species such as Magnolia schiedeana, Symplocos coccinea and Stanhopea tigrina. In the past, the introduction of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykis) has affected the integrity of the site, while at present the greatest threats are posed by illegal logging, poaching and changes in land use for agricultural, cattle and urban uses. Ramsar site No. 1601.Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Ciénaga de Tamasopo. 02/02/08; San Luis Potosí; 1,364 ha; 21º50’N 099º18’W. One of the last lenthic wetlands of Neotropical climate found in San Luis Potosí, which allows it to hold many flora and fauna species of ecological importance. Among them are the Tule (Typha sp), water lilies, the freshwater turtle Kinosternon integrum, serpents, migratory birds, and the Moreletti Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii). The site is important for waterfowl species such as Anas clypeata, A. strepera, and A. americana, which use this area for resting during their migration journey. Other important fauna species include Boa constrictor,Crotalus scutulatus, Ctenosaura pectinata, Kinosternon integrum,Lampropeltis triangulum,Pituophis deppei, Accipiter striatus and Buteo albicaudatus. The flora species Dioon edule is under special protection in Mexican law. Agriculture and livestock are the main activities undertaken in the site. Ramsar site no. 1814. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Ciénegas de Lerma. 02/02/04; Estado de México; 3,023 ha; 19º14'N 099º30'W. The biggest remnant wetlands in central Mexico, and especially in the Mexico and Toluca valleys, spreading over more than 3,000 ha and three lakes (lagunas) which are what remains from the 27,000 ha wetland present at the end of the 19th century. They contain several types of habitats, among which are deep water areas (more than 5m), floating and submerged vegetation areas, and areas of riparian vegetation. There is a great diversity of aquatic fauna and flora, including dozens of endemic and threatened species. The site is also important for migratory species as it is one of the biggest wetland areas they find during their journey. The Ciénegas also supply some aquatic plants used for local art craft, medicine and cooking. The different water holes are also sacred places for local people, though the lack of water has prevented them from practicing their ritual in recent years. The restitution of the water flows in the central parts of Mexico is, nowadays, the main issue for conserving these areas. Ramsar site no. 1335. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Complejo Lagunar Bahía Guásimas - Estero Lobos. 02/02/08; Sonora; 135,198 ha; 27º32’N 110º29’W. A wetland ecosystem located in the northwest coast of the Mexican Pacific, with mangrove areas composed of the species Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Rhizophora mangle. It is of great importance for hibernation of aquatic migratory and coastal birds, supporting 4% of the aquatic migratory bird populations in the winter and 9.4% of the coastal birds observed in the northern Pacific coastal zone. Among the bird species found are Egretta rufescens, Rallus longirostris, Rallus limicola, Sterna antillarum, Grus canadensis, Branta bernicla, among others. Mammal species such as Zalophus californianus californianus, Tursiops truncatus, Globicephala macrorhynchus, Delphinus delphis and Myotis vivesi can also be observed. Its bays and estuaries are reproduction, nursery and development grounds for species such as the Blue Shrimp (Penaeus stylirostris). Fishing (mainly shrimp and oyster), agriculture, hunting and extensive livestock are the most common activities undertaken. There is currently a proposal to establish the Aquatic Wildlife (Flora and Fauna) Protection Area “Bahía Lobos”. Ramsar site no. 1790. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Corredor Costero La Asamblea - San Francisquito. 27/11/05; Baja California; 44,304 ha; 29º27'N 113º50'W. The physical characteristics of the site and its coastal, marine and insular diversity promotes the existence of abundant flora and fauna, including around 35% of the 3,452 marine species recorded for the Gulf of California, of which at least 21 are threatened. Among the species present are the marine turtles Chelonia mydas, Caretta caretta, Lepidochelys olivacea, Eretmochelys imbricata and Dermochelys coriacea, as well as the whale shark (Rhincodon typus). The site contains seagrass beds and coral formations, both of which are underrepresented in the Ramsar List. The introduction of exotic species, the collection of eggs, and various other human activities are adversely affecting the site, which is only partially regulated by a management plan. Ramsar site No. 1595. Most recent RIS information: 2005.
Cuencas y corales de la zona costera de Huatulco. 27/11/03; Oaxaca; 44,400 ha; 15º47'N 096º12'W. National Park, Community Reserves. The site features coral reefs, uncommon in the Pacific littoral of Mexico, associated with shallow inlets in a coast dominated by cliffs. Mangrove forests are found at the outlet of some rivers and associated with several coastal lagoons. Inland, dry forests of priority importance for conservation are crossed by several freshwater currents. A wealth of fauna and flora inhabits the site, including several endangered and endemic species, including the amphibians Bufo marmoreus and Hyla sartori, the Sinaloa Wren Thryothorus sinaloa, the Golden-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes chrysogenys and the West Mexican Chacalaca Ortalis poliocephala, as well as numerous marine mammals that transit the coastline, such as the Pygmy and False Killer Whales (Feresa attenuata and Pseudorca crassidens) and the Long-finned Pilot Whale Globicephala macrorhynchus. Shellfishing, agriculture and tourism are the main activities in the area. Tourism development is considered to be the main threat due to large concentrations of people seasonally and the effect of new infrastructures. Forest clearing, hurricanes and hunting are also of concern. A management plan is in place for the Huatulco National Park and research activities are coordinated with several universities. Gathering of information for designation of the site was supported by the Ramsar Wetlands for the Future Initiative. Ramsar site no. 1321. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Dzilam (reserva estatal). 07/12/00; Yucatán; 61,707 ha; 21°35’N 088°35’W. Reserva Estatal. A coastal and marine reserve located in the north of the Yucatán Peninsula, adjacent to the Ría Lagartos Ramsar site. The site includes a unique hydrological system, "anillo de cenotes", a formation caused by the impact of a huge meteor. This site comprises various habitats: marine areas of the continental platform, seagrass beds, intertidal lagoons, sandy dune shores, flooded jungle, dry low jungle and medium height jungle. The site provides important habitat for more than 20,000 waterbirds, such as the Mexican pink flamingo and many other migratory species. It is also an important habitat for a wide diversity of species and life history stages of fish, molluscs and crustaceans, some of them with a high commercial value, and it provides habitat for several endemic, threatened and endangered species of cactus, reptiles and amphibians. The site has extremely important cultural values, as it was an area of residence of prehispanic cultures. 14,000 hectares of the site belong to private landowners. About 68% of the population residing in the area derive their livelihoods from fishing, hunting and agriculture, 8.5% from trade, 7.5% from industry, 4% from tourism, and the rest work for the government. Ramsar site no. 1045. Most recent RIS information: 2000.
Ecosistema Ajos-Bavispe, zona de influencia Cuenca Río San Pedro. 02/02/10; Sonora; 182,623 ha, 31°10'30"N 110°11'17"W. The site covers the principal course of San Pedro River in northern Mexico and 10 swamps in its surroundings. It is representative of the rivers, streams and swamps of the region and the only climax wetlands of the Chihuahua's Desert and the Sierra Madre Occidental. The system has a major hydrological influence in this semi-arid zone by regulating the impact of droughts. It works as a wildlife corridor, providing shelter, food and resting zone for aquatic birds. As well as hosting endemic species like Agosia chrysogaster and Gila intermedia, the site also works as a wildlife corridor for the American Bear (Ursus americanus). It supports a number of species IUCN red-listed such as Rana chiricahuensis, Ambystoma tigrinum, and Empidonax traillii. Threats include inappropriate livestock practices, the overexploitation of aquifers, and pollution, especially in the urban area of Cananea. The planning and management of the basin is being consolidated, and it is led by The Nature Conservancy, Naturalia, and BIDA, A.C. Ramsar Site no. 2044. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Ecosistema Arroyo Verde APFF Sierra de Álamos Río Cuchujaqui. 02/02/10; Sonora; 174 ha; 27°01’N 108°45’W. This Ramsar Site includes three streams located within the "Sierra de Alamos-Rio Cuchujaqui" Protected Area and Biosphere Reserve. It contains high biological diversity because of elements from the Nearctic and Neotropical biogeographic regions. This includes a number of rare species such as Ayenia purpusii and Cardiospermum cuchujaquense as well as species listed in Mexican regulation as endangered, like the Green Macaw (Ara militaris) and Palma de la Virgen (Dioon Sonorense). The site, on the Sierra Madre Occidental migratory route, provides support to Neotropical migratory birds such as Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter Cooper) and Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii). The main threat to this site is water extraction for human consumption; hence alternative water sources have been identified to reduce pressure on the site. Currently the Management Plan for the “Sierra de Alamos-Rio Cuchujaqui" Protected Area is under review and consensus. Ramsar Site no. 1934. Most recent information: 2010.
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 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. [français | español]
Ensenada de Pabellones. 02/02/08; Sinaloa; 40,639 ha; 24°26´N 107°34´W. Área Natural Protegida. The site on the Gulf of California coast includes a series of lagoon complexes, estuarine waters, swamps, marshes and meadows supporting important biodiversity. Representing one of the most important refugees of waterfowl in Sinaloa, it supports more than 292 species of migratory and resident bird species. Because of its location in the Pacific Migratory Corridor, it is classified as a Priority Wetland in Mexico, in the Ib IUCN Category (Wilderness Area). The site is of regional importance for the American avocet (Recurvirostra americana), supporting 10% of the total world population of this species. Rhizophora mangle, Avicenia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa y Guayacum coulteri are amongst the noteworthy flora found in the site. The main land uses are aquaculture and fishing, with the latter negatively affecting the site. Ramsar site no. 1760. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Estero de Punta Banda. 02/02/06; Baja California; 2,393 ha; 31°44'N 116°38'W. This wetland preserves a variety of intertidal marshes, mud and sand flats, and seagrass beds that has completely disappeared from the biological corridor stretching from Ensenada to southern California, USA. Apart from the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), seal (Phoca vitulina) and California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), the fauna includes a rich diversity of benthic invertebrates that support the entire food chain of the estuary. Punta Banda is the breeding, feeding and nursing ground of at least 150 species of fish, many of them of commercial importance. The site has also been used for at least the past 2000 years by the Kumiai indians, hunter-gatherers whose language gave origin to many of the languages now spoken in the area. Since the 1980s the construction of oil exploration and housing infrastructure has affected a considerable portion of the site, and still threatens its integrity. Ramsar site no. 1604. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Estero El Chorro. 02/02/08; Jalisco; 267 ha; 19º54’N 105º24’W. An estuarine system located along Mexico’s western central littoral. Its mouth is open only 6 months a year and most of the lagoon is surrounded by low and spiny forest vegetation, as well as some mangrove areas with the species Laguncularia racemosa and Conocarpus erectus. This vegetation allows the site to be an ideal habitat for a great variety of fish, molluscs, crustaceans, reptiles and resident and migratory birds. It is of great importance as resting and feeding grounds for Himantopus mexicanus, Calidris mauri, Catoptrophorus semipalmatus, Ardea alba, and Butorides virescens. Productive activities include artisanal fishing and guided tours through the site. Mangrove deforestation and agricultural expansion are the main threats. Ramsar site no. 1791. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Estero El Soldado. 02/02/11; Sonora; 350 ha; 27°57'48"N 110°58'33"W. Despite its small size the estuary contains high biodiversity, which has earned the title of "unique among the estuaries of the Sea of Cortez." It is representative of a natural coastal wetland of the Mexican Pacific Ocean and is considered the healthiest and most flourishing of its distribution in the northern Gulf of California. Three species of mangrove occur, the Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans), the Red Mangrove (Rizophora mangle), and the White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa). There is an initial registration of 408 species: 121 invertebrates, 80 fish, 75 birds, 11 reptiles, 9 amphibians, 9 mammals, and 103 plants. The estuary contributes to flood control when there are meteorological events such as cyclones and storms that bring large amounts of water. The uses of the estuary include the extraction and consumption of fishery resources as well as research and education activities. The site is an Area Subject to Ecological Conservation area since 2006. Ramsar Site no. 1982. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Estero La Manzanilla. 02/02/08; Jalisco; 264 ha; 19°18’N 104°47’W. An estuarine system located in Tenacatita Bay, one of the five most important bays of Mexico’s Pacific coast, surrounded by large clusters of mangrove in good condition, including Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa, and Conocarpus erectus. A variety of flora and fauna species are also found, e.g., the site is one of the three areas with large populations of the American crocodile (Cocodrylus acutus). The estuary is essential for the reproduction of several species of aquatic animals and holds the largest reproductive colony of Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) in the area. 55 different species of aquatic birds have been identified, and 42 different species of fish, of 10 different orders and 21 families, use this area as feeding ground. Since 1970, human activities such as urban growth and deforestation have caused a negative impact on the estuary, including the construction of a paved coastal road which has had negative impacts to the mangroves and limited the flow of water to the estuary. Ramsar site no. 1789. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Estero Majahuas. 02/02/08; Jalisco; 786 ha; 19º50’N 105º21’W. A good representative of the transition zone where biotic elements of the Neartic and Neotropical biogeographic regions come together. The vegetation found in the margins of the marsh is composed mainly of the mangrove species Rhizophora mangle and Laguncularia racemosa, both under special protection. The site supports around 60 species of aquatic birds including Fulica americana, Porphyrula martinica y Gallinula chloropus), Anas spp, Dendrocygna autumnales, Chroroceryle americana, Ceryle alción, Larus heermanni, Sterna elegans, Mycteria americana, Egretta refucens and Ardea herodians. The marsh holds a great number of the crocodile species Crocodylus acutus and the marine turtle Lepidochelys olivacea, which uses the beaches during nesting periods. Traditional river fishing and ecotourism are the main activities undertaken in the site. Among the threats to this ecosystem are mangrove deforestation and extension of agriculture and livestock areas. Ramsar site no. 1792. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Humedal de Importancia Especialmente para la Conservación de Aves Acuáticas Ría Lagartos. 04/07/86; Yucatán; 60,348 ha; 21º30’N 088º00’W. Added to the Montreux Record, 4 July 1990, removed from the Record, 7 August 1996. Biosphere Reserve. An extensive complex of small estuaries and hypersaline coastal lagoons separated from the Gulf of Mexico by a dune cordon. Certain parts receive fresh water from subterranean aquifers. Eight specific vegetation zones are present, providing habitat for several notable or endangered species of plants. The vegetative diversity gives rise to an abundant fauna, representing a high percentage of species known in the Yucatan, including numerous threatened or endangered species. Several villages and archaeological areas are located within the site. Human activities include, fishing, tourism, agriculture, livestock rearing, and salt extraction. Special research and educational efforts are devoted to the protection and conservation of marine turtles. Subject of Ramsar Advisory Missions in 1989 and 1991. Area significantly extended in September 2002. Ramsar site no. 332. Most recent RIS information: 2001.
Humedal La Sierra de Guadalupe. 02/02/08; Baja California Sur; 348,087 ha; 26°40’N 112°30’W. This system comprises four intermittent riverine systems that form several oases, and a coastal marine wetland. It is located between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California coasts and is important as the only freshwater source available in a territory where these sources are very scarce during the year, playing a vital role for local and migratory fauna. Two endemic flora species have been registered for the site, Washingtonia robusta y Prosopis articulata, as well as eight endemic reptile species including the amphisbaenid Bipesbiporus. The long drought season is the factor most likely to alter this wetland, followed by anthropogenic threats that derive mainly from the extraction of water for human consumption and subsistence agriculture. Ramsar site no. 1815. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Humedal Los Comondú. 02/02/08; Baja California Sur; 460,959 ha; 26º05'N 111º48'W. Situated in Sierra La Giganta, the wetland is distinguished by three large oases. It supports threatened species such as Geothlypis beldingi, Vireo bellii, Poliopotila californica, and endemic species like the Xantus's Hummingbird (Hylocharis xantusi). The site is of great importance for 36 species of Neotropical migratory birds, providing them with shelter and food. The main land uses are grazing and agricultural practices, as well as water extraction for agricultural, livestock and urban purposes. The greatest threats to the integrity of the site include hurricanes (which provoke flooding), the introduction of exotic flora species like the Common reed (Phragmites australis), Phoenix datylifera, the Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare), and the Palay rubbervine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) causing the displacement of native species, and introduced fish species like the Guppy (Poecilia reticulata) and the Redbelly tilapia (Tilapia zilli). Ramsar site no. 1761. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Humedales de Bahía Adair. 02/02/09; Sonora; 42,430 ha; 31º35’N 113º53’W. Parts of national Biosphere Reserves. This site is composed of three types of habitats, including estuaries, artesian wells, and salt marshes, and is located in the Gran Desierto de Altar, one of the most arid and extreme deserts of North America. The site supports 12 fauna species found under special protection in Mexican law, such as the endangered Desert Pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius) endemic to the region, and species listed in CITES such as the marine turtles Caretta caretta, Chelonia agassizi, Chelonia mydas, Dermochelys coriacea and Lepidochelys olivacea. Three fish species Gillichthys seta, Anchoa mundeoloides and Leuresthes sardina, are endemic to the northern Gulf of California, as well as two endemic flora species: Distichlis palmeri and Suaeda puertopenascoa. The main hydrological value of these wetlands is the presence of the Sonoyta-Puerto Peñasco Aquifer of prehistoric formation. The main land uses include tourism and real estate in the coastal zone, conservation, salt extraction, scientific research, environmental education, subsistence fishing, oyster culture and ecotourism. A portion of the site is within the Alto Golfo y Delta del Río Colorado Biosphere Reserve and another portion adjoins El Pinacate y el Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve. Ramsar site no. 1866. Most recent RIS information: 2009.
Humedales de Bahía de San Jorge. 02/02/10; Sonora; 12,198 ha; 31°06'00"N 113°04'11"W. Includes eight types of habitats that connect the terrestrial system with one of the most productive marine systems in the world, the Gulf of California, and are also part of an extremely arid desert ecosystem. It supports a great diversity of flora and fauna adapted to extreme conditions of the region, such as halophytic plants, four endemic species of fish (Gillichthys seta, Anchoa mundeoloides, Colpichthys regis and Leuresthes sardina) and two endemic plant species (Distichlis palmeri and Suaeda puertopenascoa). The site is part of the Pacific Flyway and serves as a nesting site for birds such as Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia), the Least Tern (Sternula antillarum browni), the American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) and the Large-billed Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis rostratus). The channels and marshes of the site serve as refuge and feeding areas for larval and juvenile stages of fish and invertebrates. The site also holds a resident population of Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiop truncatus). The wetlands are important for mitigation of floods and prevention of coastal erosion. Among the major land uses are aquaculture and fishing. Ramsar Site no. 1983. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Humedales de Guachochi. 30/10/13; Chihuahua; 57.5 ha; 26°50’8”N 107°7’31”W. The Site is comprised of eight endorheic reservoirs and lagoons located in the Sierra Madre Occidental range in south-eastern Chihuahua. Its importance is due to its role in controlling and preventing flooding and in retaining seasonal water. It supports numerous species, including migratory birds. Threatened or endangered species include the birds Anas platyrhynchos diazi and Ardea Herodias, the parrot Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha, the endemic squirrel Sciurus aberti durangi and the endemic hare Lepus californicus Sheldoni. It is also important for the Rarámuri indigenous groups that use the Site for subsistence fishing and farming. The distribution of migratory water birds is threatened by deforestation in the surrounding area and the demand for spaces for ecotourism and for water and energy supply. Ramsar Site no. 2205. Most recent RIS information: 2014.
Humedales de la Laguna La Cruz. 02/02/13; Sonora; 6,665 ha; 28°47’15”N 111°52’53”W. A small bay in the northern Gulf of California, characterized by intertidal marshes, intertidal forested wetlands, and mud, sand or salt flats, with mangrove forests that are unique as they are located near the northern limit of their distribution and, within the Sonorean Desert area, lack fresh water inputs. As part of the Pacific Migratory Route, it is an important rest area for migratory birds, providing food and refuge to a total of 154 species of birds, of which 84 are aquatic species. Some 96 fish species have been identified at the site, which is also vital for some species during adverse climatic conditions and as a breeding area of various fish, mollusc and crustacean species. It also supports such threatened species as the Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas and the Elegant Tern Sterna elegans among others. The site is highly significant for local communities as it maintains the fisheries of the area and is also important for tourism and research. The main threats to the site are related to the shrimp farms located nearby and their effluents. Ramsar Site no. 2154. Most recent RIS information: 2013.
Humedales de la Laguna La Popotera. 05/06/05; Veracruz; 1,975 ha; 18°40'N 095°31'W. An extensive site containing at least 24 wetland types and a large number of marshes, ponds, rivers and sand dunes combined with a thick mangrove forest. The estuarine nature of the waters make the site an ideal resting and breeding ground for numerous species. A total of 78 endangered or threatened species inhabit the area, among them the manatee (Trichechus manatus), river otter (Lontra longicaudis), and an endemic lizard species that resembles a snake (Ophisaurus ceroni). An estimated 300 species of waterfowl inhabit the area. Sugar cane agriculture, cattle ranching and poaching constitute the main potential threats to this site. Ramsar site No.1462. Most recent RIS information: 2005.
Humedales de Montaña La Kisst. 02/02/08; Chiapas; 36 ha, 16°44’N 092°39’W. Área Natural Protegida. A high altitude wetland (2,120m asl), important for humans as it captures, filters, stores and provides clean water; the springs found in the area are the primary supply of clean water to San Cristobal de las Casas. The site supports great populations of fish and amphibians, of which 10 have been identified as endemic or under a protection category, e.g., the endemic fish Profundulushildebrandi and Ergaticus versicolor, both in danger of extinction. The Bearded Screech-Owl (Otusbarbarus) is a threatened species, and subject to special protection are: the frog species Plectrohylapycnochila and Eleutherodactylusglaucus. The site is also an important resting place for migratory birds. Among negative factors are the constant increase of the population and the unorganized spread of housing, which have caused the area to diminish in size and led to deforestation, and constant freshwater pumping has caused the depletion of water and the drying out of many parts of the wetland. Ramsar site no. 1787. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Humedales de Montaña María Eugenia. 02/02/12; Chiapas; 86 ha, 16°43'N 092°37'W. Área Natural Protegida. A high altitude wetland (2,120m asl), important for its major role in the prevention and control of flooding. As an urban wetland, it is important for the recharge of aquifers to supply water to San Cristobal de las Casas. The site supports large populations of fish, birds, and amphibians, of which 5 have been identified as endemic or under a protection category, according to the IUCN Red list: the endemic fish Profundulus hildebrandi and Ergaticus versicolor, both in danger of extinction, and critically endangered Plectrohyla pycnochila, Abronia lythrochila, and Carduelis atriceps. The site is also an important resting place for migratory birds, and a refuge for local species. It is critical for the survival of populations of resident species, e.g, Micropterus salmoides, Lithobates brownorum, and Tamnophis proximus. Among negative factors are the constant increase of the population and the unorganized spread of housing, which have caused the area to diminish in size and led to deforestation. Since 2006, there is a recreational area designed for tourism and environmental education. A promising management programme has been approved. Ramsar Site no. 2045. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Humedales de Yavaros-Moroncarit. 02/02/10; Sonora; 13,627 ha; 26º43'39"N 109º31'00"W. A lagoon complex considered to be a critical habitat for a variety of species, some of them under legal protection in Mexico, such as the Yellow-footed gull (Larus livens), the Peregine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), and Black-Bellied Brent Goose (Branta bernicla nigricans). There are also 66 species of birds that are on the lists of priority species for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NBCA). Each year over 50,000 individuals of shorebirds visit the marshes, mud flats and mangroves of the Moroncarit lagoon, and it is also an important wintering site for 47,000 ducks, geese and other waterfowl. Due to its high biodiversity and versatility in the use of natural resources, the southern coast of Sonora is a marine priority area of Mexico. The Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) has been breeding here since 1988, and other marine mammals recorded are the Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) and the Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus). Among the adverse factors affecting the site are the uncontrolled fishing and tourism activities. The most common land uses within the site include agriculture and ranching. Ramsar Site no. 1984. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Humedales del Delta del Río Colorado. 20/03/96; Baja California, Sonora; 250,000 ha; 31º50’N 114º59’W. Reserva de la Biosfera, Shorebird Reserve. A system of natural and artificial wetlands consisting of intertidal wetlands, brackish deltas, riverine environments, and permanent, freshwater lakes and ponds, set in one of the largest hydrographic basins in North America. Vegetation consists of diverse aquatic plants and coastal halophytic (salt tolerant) species, representing numerous endemic, rare or threatened species. Over 400 species of flora are present, with resident and migratory waterbirds representing the most important wildlife. Human activities include fishing, hunting, agriculture, scientific research, environmental education, ecotourism, and ranching. Small settlements of indigenous people are present. The delta, intensively modified due to agriculture and the lowering of the water table, represent the main threats. Ramsar site no. 814. Most recent RIS information: 2001.
Humedales del Lago de Pátzcuaro. 02/02/05; Michoacán; 707 ha: 19º34'N 101º40'W. The southwestern sector of Lake Pátzcuaro, lying at 2,035 meters asl in an endorrheic basin of volcanic origin, is the shallowest area of the lake, with extensive areas of marshes of American bulrush Scirpus americanus, Cattail Typha latifolia, Grassleaf arrowhead Sagitaria graminea and Black flatsedge Cyperus niger, as well as communities of Banana waterlily Nymphaea mexicana and Illinois pondweed Potamogeton illinoensis. The lake is rich in endemic fish species such as the Bulldog goodeid Alloophorus robustus, Chirostoma estor, Algansea lacustris, Goodea luitpoldii and the molluscs Opeas patzcuarense and Potamopyrgus patzcuarensis. It also provides habitat for two globally endangered species: the Black-Polled Yellowthroat Geothlypis speciosa and the salamander Ambystoma dumerilii. Surrounding areas are densely populated and the lake has provided livelihoods for the P'urepecha indigenous people and their descendants. The lake is renowned worldwide for hosting the Day of the Dead celebrations in November in several of the villages on its shores and islands. Problems arise from eutrophication and siltation due to erosion in the basin, disposal of untreated waters from agriculture and urban areas, overfishing and invasive species. There is a permanent dredging program of silted areas and an ongoing plan to recover populations of Chirostoma estor. Ramsar site no. 1447. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Humedales El Mogote - Ensenada de La Paz. 02/02/08; Baja California Sur; 9,184 ha; 24º09’N 110º21’W. A coastal lagoon separated from the La Paz Bay by a sandy barrier (El Mogote), with temporal pluvial water incoming during the summer. The mangroves of Ensenada de La Paz have floodplains and internal water bodies, creating small lagoons that are important nesting areas for many bird species such as Ardea herodias, Bubulcus ibis, Egretta rufescens, E. thula, E. tricolor, E. caerulea, Nyctanassa violacea, Nycticorax nictycorax, Eudocimus albus, Butorides striatus, Rallus limicola (endemic), Charadius wilsonia and Sternula antillarum, most of them under special legal protection. 37% of the bird species are migratory – more than 20,000 migratory shorebirds on their journey south stop in for a few days or weeks to eat and rest during the winter season. The most common mammal is the California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus), and other species like Procyón lotor, Canis latrans and Urocyon cinereoargentus can also be seen. There are 390 registered fish species in the Bay, including 14 species of sharks. The main activities undertaken are agricultural, livestock, industrial, and tourism. A Site of Regional Importance in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN, 2006). Ramsar site no. 1816. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Humedales La Libertad. 02/02/08; Chiapas; 5,432 ha;17°39’N 091°43’W. Situated in the Usumacinta River Basin, the site is composed of a complex of lagoons and temporary floodplains formed by the river La Libertad. The Manatee (Trichechus manatus), the Neotropical Otter (Lontra longicaudis) and the Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra) are amongst the endangered species living in the area. The site presents ideal conditions for the reproduction stages of many species of importance including: the Coatimundi (Nasua narica), Paca (Agouti paca), the Banded Anteater (Tamandua mexicana), the Mesoamerican River Turtle (Dermatemys mawii), the Morelet's crocodile (Crocodilus moreletii), and fish species including Atractosteus tropicus and Cichlasoma heterospilum. It also shelters at least 99 species of resident and migratory birds. Fishing is the main productive activity. Factors negatively affecting the site include agricultural and livestock practices, deforestation, soil compaction caused by grazing, the discharge of waste waters, etc. The National History and Ecology Institute is in charge of the management of the site, and it is found under the IV IUCN Category of protected areas. Ramsar site no. 1774. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Isla Rasa. 02/02/06; Baja California; 66 ha; 28º49'N 112º59'W. An island of volcanic origin with 3 coastal lagoons, located in a zone of high marine productivity. Over 80 species of terrestrial, land and marine bird species have been registered on the island and its surroundings, and according to some authors this site hosts almost the whole population of the Heermann's gull (Larus heermanni) and elegant tern (Sterna elegans), with tens of thousands of individuals in each case. The island also hosts two endemic reptile species: a gecko and a lizard (Uta stansburiana), but no native mammals. The exotic rodents Rattus rattus and Mus musculus, introduced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, were successfully eradicated from the island in 1995. Ramsar site no. 1603. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Isla San Pedro Mártir. 02/02/04; Sonora; 30,165 ha; 28°23'N 112°19'W. Reserva de la Biosfera. A small island of 127 ha off the coast of Sonora, regarded as one of the best preserved islands in the Gulf of California. The island is a favourite site for marine birds, as it hosts very large colonies of Blue-footed Boobies Sula nebouxii, Brown Boobies Sula leucogaster, Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis and Red-billed Tropicbirds Phaethon aethereus. Two endemic lizards also inhabit the islands, Uta palmeri and Cnemidophorus martyris, and there is a colony of ca.2,500 California Sea Lions Zalophus californianus. The island is bordered by trenches more than 900 metres deep, where the waters of the northern and southern parts of the Gulf meet and generate an upwell. Cliffs and steep slopes dominate the island, which has very little vegetation apart from a small forest of Pachycereus pringlei and seasonal meadows of Wild Poppy Sphaeralcea hainesii. Its large guano deposits were exploited until 1978, when the island was declared a protected area. Presently there are only temporary fishing camps on the island, and ecotourism is still a minor activity. Ramsar site no. 1359. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Islas Marietas. 02/02/04; Nayarit; 1,357 ha; 20º42'N 105º34'W. Reserva de Biosfera. Lying off the coast of Nayarit, in Bahía de Banderas, the archipelago consists of two small islands and two islets of volcanic origin. The wind, sun, rain and waves have transformed the substrate, creating various settings that produce an enormous biodiversity. The Islas Marietas are home to a large variety of resident and migratory seabirds, including brown boobies (Sula leucogaster) commonly known as motmots, seagulls and pelicans. The archipelago is also important for the breeding of some marine species like the Humpback whales (Megaptera novaengliae) and the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). The main threat to the site is the "Escalera Náutica del Golfo de California" project which would imply the building of marinas and other associated infrastructures (hotels, airports, etc.), as well as the increase of the number of boats and visitors sailing around or coming to the islands. The archipelago was recently declared a Special Biosphere Reserve and a National Park. Ramsar site no. 1345. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
La Alberca de los Espinos. 02/02/09; Michoacán; 33 ha; 19°54´N 101°46´W. The area is characterized by a cineritic cone with a water body in the centre. This Ramsar Site is an importantattraction to both local and international tourists. Inside the crater, there is a tropical deciduous forest and a gallery forest around the lake. The site is home to various species protected by the Mexican legislation including: Cedrela dugesii, Albizia plurijuga and Erythrina coralloides. The most common flora species are Salix bonplandiana, Fraxinus uhdei and Lasiacis sp. The volcanic structure working as a catchment area for the lake, the permanence of healthy forests in the crater contributing to the retention of the sediments removed by erosion are considered as the main hydrological values of the site. In 2003, the site was declared a Natural Protected Area, and is now documented as a Zone of Ecological Preservation. Ramsar Site n°1922. Most recent RIS information: 2009.
La Mancha y El Llano. 02/02/04; Veracruz; 1,414 ha; 19°36'N 096°23'W. Two coastal lagoons in the Gulf of Mexico surrounded by mangroves and two humid dune slacks. The latter are shallow freshwater lakes supplied by groundwater and surrounded with deciduous seasonally flooded forest of Crysobalanus icaco and Enterolobium cyclocarpum and communities of Cyperus articulatus and Phyla nodiflora. These are threatened and unique ecosystems in the whole coast of Veracruz where coastal dunes can reach 80 m in height but are being filled in for urban growth. Mangroves host populations of Belize Crocodiles Crocodylus moreletii, Wood Stork Mycteria americana and Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens. Oysters, clams and shrimp are fished regularly. The lagoons are being silted due to mangrove and upper basin deforestation, and impacts of infrastructure such as oil pipelines, road and railway building present threats. The Instituto de Ecología A.C. is located on the site, maintaining ongoing research activities and elaborating a community management plan. Ramsar site no. 1336. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
La Mintzita. 02/02/09; Michoacán; 57 ha; 19°38’N 101°16’W. La Mintzita is a reservoir formed by a series of springs. The site is home to species that are protected under Mexican legislation, some of which are threatened, such as the Zoogoneticus quitzeoensis and Skiffia lermae (fish species). The site counts more than a hundred bird species such as the threatened Anas platyrhynchos diazi and Bubo virginianus, and endangered Buteo jamaicensis and Regulus calendula. This wetland plays an important role in the retention of sediments that come from higher altitudes of the catchment area, as well as to filter nutrients produced in the Cointzio Resort. Threats to this Ramsar Site, such as the overuse of water resources, illegal domestic drainage, the deforestation of the gallery forests and human encroachment are activities that should be regulated once the Management Programme for the State Protected Area is finalized. The area is already designated as a Zone Subject to Ecological Preservation and a management plan is currently being prepared to regulate, limit and sanction illegal activities. The plan is expected to be finalized by the end of 2010. Ramsar Site n°1919. Most recent RIS information: 2009.
La Tovara. 02/02/08; Nayarit; 5,733 ha; 21°35’N 105°15’ W. A transition area of continental and oceanic waters, caused by the mixed tide phenomenon. The mangrove area consists of four species: Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa,Avicennia germinans and Conocarpus erectus, all of which are found under special protection according to the Mexican legislation. Mastichodendron capiri and Chamaedorea pochutlensis are threatened species also found in the site, the latter also endemic to the country. Many bird species under special protection are also found in the site, such as Amazona finschi, Ara militaris, Ardea herodias, Cyanocorax beecheii, Forpus cyanopygius, Icterus spurius, Melanotis caerulescens, Tigrisoma mexicanum and Vireo atricapillus. It is home to six feline species found under special protection.Agriculture, livestock, forestry, fishing, acuaculture and turism are the main economic activities. Ramsar site no. 1776. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Lago de Chapala. 02/02/09; 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 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. [français | español]
Lago de San Juan de los Ahorcados. 02/02/09; Zacatecas; 1,099 ha; 24°01’N 102°18’W. This wetland is a shallow, natural retention, water body with scarce superficial currents. It has great biodiversity and a high level of endemism, including protected species such as Ferocactus pilosus, Hamatacantus uncinatus, Echinocactus platyacanhtus, Peniocereus greggi, Ariocarpus fissuratus, Lephophora williamsi and Coryphanta poselgeriana. The Aquila chrysaetos and other birds of prey nest in the higher parts of the site, and are protected along with other threatened species such as Crotalus molosus, C. atrox and C. scutulatus. This Ramsar Site is part of the Chihuahua Desert, the biggest desert of North America. It is a refuge for migratory birds and its main land uses are agriculture and livestock. Abusive exploitation of the water resource extracted for irrigation is considered to be the main threat to this site. There is a proposal in progress to declare this area a Protected Natural Area in order to regulate the negative impacts of such activities. Ramsar Site n°1920. Most recent RIS information: 2009.
Laguna Barra de Navidad. 02/02/08; Jalisco; 794 ha; 19°11’N 104°40’W. An estuarine system along Mexico’s western central littoral with permanent communication with the ocean. The vegetation found in the margins of the lagoon is composed mainly of the mangrove species Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa, Avicennia germinans and Conocarpus erectus. Sixty aquatic bird species have been identified in this site, representing 50% of the species identified for the coast of Jalisco. These include Ardea herodias, Egretta rufescens, Mycteria americana, Larus heermanni,Sterna elegans, Buteogallus anthracinus and Nomonyx dominicus, all but the last of which are under legal protection. The Snow goose Chen caerulescens has been observed in the lagoon, a new record for the coast of Jalisco The lagoon is essential for the reproduction of migratory and resident waterfowl, and is also of great importance for fish species in different stages of their life cycles. Ramsar site no. 1817. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Laguna Chalacatepec. 02/02/08; Jalisco; 1,093 ha; 19º40’N 105º13’W. Acoastal lagoon representative of the transition regions where biotic elements of the Neartic and Neotropical biogeographic regions come together. Mangroves are the predominant vegetation, including the species Laguncularia racemosa, Rhizophora mangle, Conocarpus erectus y Avicennia germinans. Important populations of the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) have been found, as well as the threatened Southern River Otter (Lutra annectens). The lagoon is essential for the reproduction of resident waterfowl such as Nyctanassa violacea, Ardea alba, Egretta thula, and Phalacrocorax brasilianus, and is used by migratory waterfowl (Anas acuta, Fulica Americana and Dendrocygna aututumnali) as a staging point for eating and resting on their long-distance journeys. The main human activities are local fishing, agriculture and extensive livestock in the surroundings. The site lies adjacent to the Marine Turtle Sanctuary “El Playuón de Mismaloya”, dedicated mainly to the conservation of marine turtles, activity that is becoming more and more popular as a tourist attraction and helping to create awareness of the importance of the protection of natural resources. Ramsar site no. 1818. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Laguna Costera El Caimán. 02/02/05; Michoacán; 1,125 ha; 17°58'N 102°16´W. A long coastal lagoon bordering the steep Pacific shoreline close to the port of Lázaro Cárdenas, the site has two mouths connecting intermittently to the sea and dividing a sand bar. The lagoon is covered by stands of button mangrove Conocarpus erectus, Red mangrove Rhizophora mangle and White mangrove Avicennia germinans. Several endangered species inhabit the site, such as the American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus, the Yellow-headed Parrot Amazona oratrix, the Jaguar Panthera onca and the Green turtle Chelonia mydas. Coconut production, subsistence fishing and small-scale tourism are the main uses of the area. Adverse impacts arise from the felling of mangroves, sewage and industrial discharges, invasive alien species, dredging, filling, housing development and waste disposal. The site is expected to be declared a Protected Area soon after designation. Ramsar site no. 1448.Most recent RIS information: 2005.
Laguna de Atotonilco. 18/03/06; Jalisco; 2,850 ha; 20º22'N 103º39'W. Priority Area for Conservation. Situated along the neovolcanic axis, the area around the site presents geothermal springs often used for recreational activities. Noteworthy fauna includes reptiles such as a nationally endangered toad (Bufo marinus), snake (Thamnophis eques), striped lizard (Cnemidophorus communis) and an endemic frog (Rana megapoda) also considered vulnerable by IUCN. In addition, the aquatic vegetation also provides spawning ground for several fish species. Archeological excavations have unearthed rudimentary objects (arrow heads and clay figures), as well as mammoth, rhino and bison fossil remains. Deforestation and water infrastructure works are two of the greatest threats to the integrity of the site. Ramsar site No. 1607. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Laguna de Babícora. 02/02/08; Chihuahua; 26,045 ha; 29º20'N 107º50'W. Located in the biogeographic region of the Sierra Madre Occidental, this complex is composed of a series of small lagoons that bond together as the source of the basin recharges, arising to the surface. It is of great importance for 122 species of migratory birds including the Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) and the Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). Threatened species like the Mexican Duck (Anas platyrhyncos diazi) and the Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) find shelter in this lagoon, which also holds the greatest number of geese in the Mexican Highlands, 5 endemic flora species (new for Mexico) Desmonim sp., Helenium chihuahuense, Hydropectis estradii, Thynchosia macrocarpa and Tragon porrifolius and two new for science: Hydropectis estradii and Desmonium sp. Agriculture and livestock are the main productive activities in the site. Among the threats the most damaging are drying of lagoons for livestock and agriculture purposes, agrochemical pollution, and urban waste waters. Babícora is part of the program Areas of Importance for the Conservation of Birds. Ramsar site no. 1762. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Laguna de Chichankanab. 02/02/04; Quintana Roo; 1,999 ha; 19º52'N, 088º46'W. A complex of inland freshwater lakes following a fault line. Seasonally flooded grasslands dominated by Jamaica Sawgrass Cladium jamaicense, partially evergreen forests of Alseis yucatensis, Clusia salvini, and others, plus and a rare enclave of Rhizophora mangle mangrove surround the lakes. Five endemic and threatened fish ("cachorritos") are known only in this location: Cyprinodon beltrani, C. labiosus, C. maya, C. simus and C. verecundus. The site has been proposed as a nationally protected area. Ramsar site no. 1364. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Laguna de Cuyutlán vasos III y IV. 02/02/11; Colima; 4,051 ha; 18º58'09"N 104º06'42"W. This lagoon represents 90% of wetlands in the state of Colima, is the fourth largest coastal wetland in the country, and is characterized by a diversity of flora and wildlife. The mangrove community, represented by White Mangrove (Laguncularia recemosa), Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) and Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans), is an important habitat for a variety of species of resident wildlife, migratory birds, fish and invertebrates that use the lagoon for feeding, resting, reproduction and/or breeding. The site also supports species under special protection, as well as endemic species such as the Lilac Crowned Amazon Parrot (Amazona finschi), the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), the Banana Bat (Musonycteris harrisoni), and the Mexican Mud Turtle (Kinosternon integrum), among others. The main uses of the lagoon include the use of fishery resources and extraction of salt, the latter being a factor that negatively affects the site along with agriculture. Ramsar Site no. 1985. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Laguna de Hanson, Parque Nacional Constitución de 1857. 02/02/10; Baja California; 510 ha; 32°02’N 115°54’W; This Ramsar Site comprises a freshwater lagoon and a floodplain located in the 1857 Constitución National Park. The Hanson lagoon is considered the only natural semi-permanent water body in the forested areas of the Baja California State. Consequently, the site supports important bird populations and plays a significant role in climate regulation for the Baja California Peninsula. The Ramsar Site is also designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) as it provides shelter, rest and reproduction areas for at least 29 bird species including migratory birds such as the Gadwall (Anas streptera) and the Redhead duck (Aythya americana). The main threat to this site comes from the extensive livestock rearing activities undertaken by the communities surrounding the National Park, who use the site as a source of water and food during the summer. Conservation and wise use activities planned to protect this Ramsar Site are currently being revised in a National Park management plan. Ramsar Site n°1923. Most recent RIS information: 2010.
Laguna de Hueyapan (El Texcal). 02/02/10; Morelos; 276 ha; 18°54'N 99°09'W. This Ramsar Site includes a permanent freshwater spring and its surrounding area is located within "The Texcal" Ecological Conservation Area. The site is recognised for its hydrological importance for the region, including the main recharge area for the aquifers in the State of Morelos. It provides a reservoir of water for wildlife and is the habitat of endemic amphibians and birds like the Dusky Hummingbird (Cynanthus sordidus), and fish like the Balsas Shiner (Notropis boucardi). The Laguna de Hueyapan also sustains threatened species such as the Mexican leaf frog (Pachymedusa dacnicolor) and the Ridged Treefrog (Hyla plicata) listed as rare under Mexican regulation. The site is partially surrounded by the urban and industrial areas of Cuernavaca city. These areas put pressure on the site with main threats being the expansion of illegal settlements, water extraction for consumption, extraction of flora and fauna and the introduction of invasive species such as Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). A Management Programme was published in 2005. Ramsar Site no. 1933. Most recent RIS information: 2010.
Laguna de Metztitlán. 02/02/04; Hidalgo; 2,937 ha; 20º41'N 098º52'W. Reserva de la Biosfera. A natural dam formed when a limestone landslide blocked the course of the Venados River. It has an average depth of 9 to 10 m, covering 700 ha, yet it may flood 5,000 ha under exceptional conditions. Vegetation types present include montane shrubs, oak-pine forest, deciduous tropical forest, "crasicaule" shrub, desert scrub, Juniperus forest and aquatic vegetation. The lake is a stopover and wintering ground for migratory birds. It feeds aquifers that are tapped for agriculture and which feed the Almolón River springs downstream. The scarce native fish life prompted the introduction of tilapias, carps and catfish, which are harvested and destined forlocal markets. Silting due to erosion in the hillsides and water pollution are generating problems of eutrophication. The use of small-eyed fishing nets also poses problems for sustaining fish stocks. A management plan is in place for the Biosphere Reserve. Ramsar site no. 1337. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Laguna de Santiaguillo. 02/02/12; Durango; 24,016 ha; 24°50'15"N 104°51'35"W. Comprises two small lakes, Laguna Superior, which is permanent, and Laguna Inferior, intermittent. Located along one of the most important routes for birds that nest in Alaska and Canada, the site has become the most important site for aquatic bird hibernation in Durango, and this semi-desert region, it has a major hydrological influence of climate regulation. It provides habitat to a variety of IUCN Red-Listed mammals, such as Choeronyteris mexicana, Leptonycteris curasoae, Leptonycteris nivalis, and the badger Taxidea taxus. It also supports 31 species of endemic herpetofauna, and 292 bird species have been reported, of which 29 are considered to be endangered. The site is considered one of the 30 Most Important Wetlands in North America, and is listed as an Important Area for Bird Conservation by Mexican authorities. Together with groundwater over-extraction and water pollution, threats include management problems and drought conditions of the system. Ramsar Site no. 2046. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Laguna de Sayula. 02/02/04; Jalisco; 16,800 ha; 20°02'N 103°32'W. Located in the Zacoalco-Sayula Valley, between the two big mountains (sierras) of Mexico (Tapalpa and Tigre), the Laguna de Sayula is a continental salt marsh sheltering 132 species of birds, 40 mammals and 14 amphibians and reptiles. Five of the 56 species of waterfowl are considered globally threatened, and the site supports about 40,000 individuals of some of these. The area is also important for its cultural and historical value, and 170 points have been identified as important for archeological values. The Laguna is the main area for the production and export of the Pitahaya de Queretaro cactus but also an important production area for nuts and coffee. Changes in land use and management and the alteration of the water flows supplying the Laguna are the main threats. The area is considered Área Prioritária para la Conservación de la Región II (South Mexico) and also site of interest for the conservation of migratory waterfowl species. Ramsar site no. 1338. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Laguna de Tamiahua. 27/11/05; Veracruz; 88,000 ha; 20°58'N 097°19'W. The third largest coastal lagoon in Mexico, with the largest well-structured mangrove forest to the north of the Papaloapan river, acting as an industrial and urban waste water filtration and treatment system. The site is also of importance for marine turtles and fish (around 120 registered species). Among the species under protection are the turtle Chelonia mydas (endangered), the fish Poecilia latipunctata (critically endangered) and the sea horse Hippocampus erectus (vulnerable), as well as several waterbird species. Deforestation of the mangrove forest, overfishing and water pollution constitute the greatest threats to the integrity of the Lagoon. Ramsar site No. 1596.Most recent RIS information: 2005.
Laguna de Tecocomulco. 27/11/03; Hidalgo; 1,769 ha; 19º52'N 098º23'W. Lying at 2514 m in the endorrheic basin of Tecocomulco, considered to be the last remnant of the ancient freshwater wetland system that dominated the Mexico Valley Basin in the centre of the country. Underlying aquifers are recharged through the lake, whose water level fluctuations are high. The site is noteworthy for 15 duck species, with congregations of Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis of up to 5000 individuals, and of Moorhens Gallinula chloropus of up to 3000. The endangered Axolotl salamander Ambystoma mexicanum also inhabits the site. The Asian Carp (Cyprinus carpo) is commercially exploited by local fishermen. There are quotas for waterfowl hunting, which takes place especially during the winter. Erosion in the basin caused by agricultural activities and overgrazing provokes a high rate of sedimentation and turbidity in the lake. To address this problem, erosion control and forestation projects have been undertaken for basin management. Different universities are engaged in research and training. Ramsar site no. 1322. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Laguna de Yuriria. 02/02/04; Guanajuato; 15,020 ha; 20°15'N 101°08'W. National Protected Area. An artificial freshwater lake built as a consequence of the deviation of the Lerma River through a canal built in 1548, considered to be the first hydraulic engineering construction of colonial America. It is one of the most important freshwater lakes in Mexico, located in a semi-arid zone at 1740m and supporting important populations of migratory birds, including Buteo jamaisensis (Red-tailed hawk), Falco peregrinus (Peregrine falcon), Myadestes townsendi (Townsend's solitaire), Anas discors (Blue-winged teal), Anas americana (American wigeon), Icterus wagleri (Black-vented oriole), Icterus cucullatus (Hooded oriole), Anas diazi, and Geothlypies speciosa. Water supply is a key role played by this lake and it has an important effect in the microclimate of the area. Agricultural expansion and urban development are the main threats to the site's character. The management and restoration plans are being drafted by the National Institute of Ecology (INE) to undertake concrete actions to achieve the sustainable management of the Yuruiria Basin. Ramsar site no. 1361. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Laguna de Zacapu. 05/06/05; Michoacán; 40 ha; 19°50'N 101°47'W. A relatively small lagoon that hosts approximately 1.1% of the Mexican duck population (Anas [platyrhynchos] diazi), as well as at least nine indigenous fish species and the endemic Allotoca zacapuensis, which is only found in this lagoon. The area includes forested and non-forested peatlands as well as underground water reservoirs, among other wetland types. Pollution, increasing sedimentation and the advance of the Zacapu town's frontier all constitute potential threats to this lagoon. Ramsar site No.1465. Most recent RIS information: 2005.
Laguna de Zapotlán. 05/06/05; Jalisco; 1,496 ha; 19°45'N 103°29'W. Located in the lowest part of the Zapotlán endorreic watershed, the lagoon stands out for hosting a considerable number of threatened and endangered species such as the Mexican long-tongued bat (Choeronycteris mexicana), the milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum), whipsnake (Masticophis flagellum), and Mexican pine snake (Pituophis deppei). It is an area of refuge for an average of 25,000 waterfowl. The site contains around 50 wells and six freshwater springs, and constitutes a key water reservoir in the region, as well as a water body receiving nearly 34,000 m3 of treated urban wastewater. The Zapotlán Lagoon is currently under pressure caused by the surrounding population. Ramsar Site No. 1466. Most recent RIS information: 2005.
Laguna Huizache-Caimanero. 02/02/07; Sinaloa; 48,283 ha; 22°50'N 105°55'W. Located in the southeastern part of the Gulf of California, the site consists of a series of wetlands, ranging from costal and continental to artificial. Due to its location along the Migratory Corridor of the Pacific, it is a site of high importance for migratory birds in Mexico, including the American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchus) and the Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaia). It is also the habitat of a wide range of fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, including species in danger of extinction or vulnerable, such as the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), the Mexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum), the Boa (Boa constrictor), the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea). The riverside of the lagoon is mainly constituted by mangrove forest, including red (Rhizophora mangle), black (Avicennia germinans) and white (Laguncularia racemosa) mangroves. The fishing resources of the lagoon are the main protein source for the surrounding communities and shrimp fishing is the main economic activity of the area. Among the negative factors affecting the site are: the sedimentation of rivers Presidio and Baluarte, deforestation, overfishing, and wastewaters discharge into the lagoon. According to the IUCN Protected Area Categories, the site belongs to Category IV and is under the federal jurisdiction of the National Water Commission of Mexico. Ramsar site no. 1689. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Laguna La Juanota. 30/10/13; Chihuahua; 232 ha; 26°29’13”N 106°28’28”W. The Site, an endorheic lagoon, is located in the Sierra Madre Occidental range at 2,697 metres above sea level, making it the water body with the highest altitude in the State of Chihuahua. Its importance is due to its role in controlling and preventing floods and in retaining seasonal water. It supports numerous species, including migratory birds. Threatened or endangered species and subspecies include the parrot Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha, the endemic squirrel Sciurus aberti durangi, the endemic hare Lepus californicus sheldoni and the duck Anas platyrhynchos diazi. The lagoon has historically been considered the most important habitat for this last subspecies. Besides its importance for fauna and flora, it is vital for the economy of the neighbouring communities, which include Rarámuri indigenous groups. The lagoon captures the water they need for their agricultural livelihoods. As the only input of water is from rain, the main threat is extended drought. Overgrazing and deforestation in the surrounding area also pose threats as they result in soil erosion and increased water salinity. Ramsar Site no. 2206. Most recent RIS information: 2014.
Laguna Madre. 02/02/04; Tamaulipas; 307,894 ha; 24°44'N 97°35'W. The largest water body in the country, on the Gulf of Mexico near the Texas border, it is a coastal lagoon system bordered by a sand barrier 223km long. Salinity varies greatly depending on rainfall. The site is of critical importance to resident and migratory waterbirds, especially shorebirds such as Pluvialis squatarola, Calidris alba, Calidris minutilla and the endangered Piping Plover Charadrius melodus. 26 waterfowl species are found on the lake, where concentrations of over 100,000 individuals of Redheads Aythya americana and Northern Pintail Anas acuta stand out. Desert scrub of mesquite Prosopis glandulosa, Blackbrush Acacia rigidula, Castela tortuosa, amongst others, is the most representative terrestrial vegetation. Seagrass beds of Halodule wrightii and others cover large areas. Fishing is by far the most important human activity on the site, yet the over-exploitation of resources has diminished stocks. The Intracoastal Waterway project from Tampico to Brownsville would seriously alter the site's character. The area is regarded as the first priority wetland for migratory birds in Mexico by Ducks Unlimited, which contributed towards the site designation. Ramsar site no. 1362. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Laguna Ojo de Liebre. 02/02/04; Baja California Sur; 36,600 ha; 27°45'N 114°05'W. Reserva de la Biosfera, World Heritage Natural Site. A hypersaline coastal lagoon, one of the main refuges for grey whales (Eschrichtius robustus) where they meet for pairing, breeding and raising their young. It also gives shelter to a wide variety of birds along the river and in the islands in the lagoon - a total of 94 species have been counted between 1995 and 1996. The area contains a lagoon, coastal and marine ecosystems as well as tidal channels and intertidal areas; the surroundings also contain unstable dunes, saltpeter areas, halophilous bushes and marshes. Waste disposal, a consequence of the fishing activities, and the over-exploitation of the area for fishing are the main threats. The lagoon has been declared a sheltered area for whales since 1972. Ramsar site no. 1339. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Laguna Playa Colorada-Santa María La Reforma. 02/02/04; Sinaloa; 53,140 ha; 25°02'N 108°09'W. The site consists of three bays with wide mouths to the sea featuring 153 islands, 25 marshes, and 18,700 ha of mangroves. The endangered Black-vented Shearwater Puffinus opisthomelas, the Brant Branta bernicla and numerous waterfowl species inhabit the site. The intertidal flats host very large numbers of shorebirds, with past counts reaching over 300,000 individuals - thus the site is listed as an international site on the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network. Economically important fish species are the mullets (Mugil cephalus and M. curema), Bullseye Puffer Sphoeroides annulatus, Mojarra Diapterus peruvianus, Spanish Mackerel Scomberomorus sierra, snappers Lutjanus spp., and snooks Centropomus spp. In terms of fish catch, it is one of the most significant areas on the Pacific coast of Mexico; the area has now over 2,000 small fishing boats navigating its waters. There are over 10,000 ha of shrimp farms, which have brought many environmental impacts, such as silting, pollution with pesticides, spread of viruses from farmed to wild populations, drying up of nearly 10% of the mangroves and disruption of the hydrological flows. Conservation International and the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa are pushing forward a community management initiative of the coastal wetlands and raising environmental awareness among locals. Ramsar site no. 1340. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Laguna San Ignacio. 02/02/04; Baja California Sur; 17,500 ha; 26°45'N 113°07'W. Part of Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site. On the very arid western side of the Baja California peninsula, this coastal brackish lagoon with large intertidal flats is an important nesting site for the Grey Whale Eschrichtius robustus, reaching 300-400 individuals each winter. Other marine mammals are resident: Elephant Seals Mirounga angustirostris and California Sea Lions Zalophus californianus. In addition, San Ignacio is one of the main wintering areas for the Black Brant Branta berniclanigricans, contains the northernmost mangrove forests in the continent, and is an important nursery ground for fish. The site is part of "El Vizcaíno" World Heritage Site, which receives a significant number of tourists for whale-watching, adventure and ecotourism in general. Overfishing and inadequate waste disposal are regarded as the main problems. A management plan is in place since 2000. Ramsar site no. 1341. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Laguna Xola-Paramán. 02/02/08; Jalisco; 775 ha.; 19°44'N 105°16'W. Marine Turtle Sanctuary. A coastal wetland is representative of the transition between the Neartic and Neotropical biogeographic regions. The lagoon is surrounded by low forest vegetation and characterized by small bays of sandy beaches and rocky areas that are part of small alluvial valleys. The mangrove species Laguncularia racemosa, Avicennia germinans and Conocarpus erectus are an important source of nutrients. The site is of great importance for the reproduction of migratory and resident waterfowl, including Ardea herodias, Egretta rufescens, Mycteria americana, Larus heermanni, Sterna elegans and Sterna antillarum, all of which are under special protection. It supports flora species such as Bursera spp., Eysenhardtia polistachya, Acacia pennatula, Forestiera spp., among others. The marine turtles Dermochelys coriacea, Lepidocheys olivacea, and Chelonia agassizi spawn on the beach next to the lagoon, which is under protection by the National Council of Protected Areas of Mexico as a Marine Turtle Sanctuary. Salt extraction and fishing are the main activities carried out in the site. Currently, it shows different states of deterioration, affected mainly by mangrove deforestation, agricultural practices, and pollution of water through agrochemicals. Ramsar site no. 1768. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Lagunas de Chacahua. 02/02/08; Oaxaca; 17,424 ha; 16°00’N 097°40’W. Natural Protected Area, turtle sanctuary. A coastal lagoon system and a sandy beach facing the Pacific Ocean. It is distributed in low lands associated with alluvial, fluvial and deltaic plains, low intertidal marshes, and highlands up to 140m asl. These water bodies are home for several species such as the Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) that are under special protection, and fish species such as Centropomus nigriscens and Centropomus robalito. The beach portion of the site is a nesting ground for three marine turtles, especially the endangered Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). The site is also important for many resident and migratory bird species. The mangroves are a source of food and refuge for many birds, mammals, reptiles, among others. Fishing is the main human activity of the site, and the main potential threat is caused by the rapid population growth in its surroundings. The site has been a Natural Protected Area since 1937 and part of the “Playa de la Bahía de Chacahua” Sanctuary for the protection of marine turtles since 1986. Ramsar site no. 1819. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Lagunas de Santa María-Topolobampo-Ohuira. 02/02/09; Sinaloa; 22,500 ha; 25°36'33"N 109°06'23"W. World Heritage site, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. A system of three coastal lagoons, with a total of eight islands: six in Ohuira Bay, one in Topolobampo Bay and one in Santa María Bay. Mangroves include Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa, Avicennia germinans and Conocarpus erectus. The site is home to 84% of the migratory waterfowl distributed in Mexico during the winter. It is subject to flooding and storms caused by tropical cyclones that regularly occur in the area, so the system functions as a shoreline stabilizer by reducing the energy of runoff caused by rainfall. Among the potential factors that could cause degradation in water quality and landscape are the large amounts of wastewater discharges, especially agricultural runoff, to the coastal zone. Fishing is the most important use in the area. The site is located within the Area of Protection of Flora and Fauna "Islas del Golfo de California", a World Heritage natural site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Ramsar Site no. 2025. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Manantiales Geotermales de Julimes. 30/10/2013; Chihuahua; 368 ha; 28°24’46’’N 105°25’48’’W. The site is made up of a group of geothermal springs in the Chihuahuan desert. Its topography and hydrology determine how the hydrothermal aquifer system is recharged and also the characteristics of these unique ecosystems and the organisms which have adapted to the extreme conditions which they present. Some of these organisms are endemic to the area such as the pupfish Cyprinodon julimes, the isopod Thermosphaeroma macrura and the gastropod Tryonia julimensis. These species are all endangered and their whole life cycle takes place within these wetlands. The entire known habitat of the pupfish has been reduced to a small canal. The site is also a Grassland Priority Conservation Area, as it acts as a resting and feeding area for migratory birds travelling over the desert areas of Chihuahua State, which have very few water bodies especially during the dry season. The threats to the Site are associated with local activities, including the extraction of water via a system of canals, for agricultural, recreational and therapeutic uses. The search for new springs and the subsequent construction of canals to transport the water also threaten the site, as does pollution from urban and agricultural discharge. Ramsar Site No. 2201. Most Recent RIS Information: 2013.
Manglares de Nichupté. 02/02/08; Quintana Roo; 4,257 ha; 21°04’N 086°48’W. This vegetation type is only found in the Caribbean coast, where its distribution is particularly discontinuous. There are dense strips of mangrove (Rhizophoramangle, Avicenniagerminans, Conocarpuserectus, Lagunculariaracemosa) which protect inland areas against hurricanes and storms. It is home to fauna species under special protection such as Crocodylusmoreletii and Ranaberlandieri, Ctenosaurasimilis (threatened) and Cheloniamydas (endangered). The threatened palm species Thrinaxradiata is also present in the site. Low impact tourism is carried out as one of the main economic activities. Archaeological remains of the Mayan culture have been recently found in the area. Ramsar site no. 1777. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Manglares y humedales de la Laguna de Sontecomapan. 02/02/04; Veracruz; 8,921 ha; 18º32'N, 095º02'W. Part of a Biosphere Reserve. A coastal lagoon featuring an important mangrove forest on the western coast of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a low seasonally flooded forest, reedbeds and coastal dunes. The site is an important stopover site for migratory birds using the coastal route from North to Central and South America, and it is part of the Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve. Nationally threatened species inhabit the site, such as the howling monkey Alouatta palliata, otter Lutra longicaudis, royal duck Cairina moschata, and Unicolored Rail Amaurolimnas concolor. The mangroves are vital spawning and nursery grounds for marine fish, while the freshwater wetlands harbor endemic species such as Atherinella ammophila, Priapella olmecae and Cychlasoma fenestratum. Fishing in the lagoon is an important economic activity, as well as cattle ranching and small-scale agriculture. Though deforestation has diminished since the site was declared a protected area, it remains the main problem of the reserve. The paving of a road poses problems if tourism increases in an unregulated manner. A management plan is being drafted for the Biosphere Reserve. Ramsar site no. 1342. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Manglares y humedales delNorte de Isla Cozumel. 02/02/09; Quintana Roo; 32,786 ha; 20°35'N 86°48'W. This Ramsar Site is located in the northern part of Cozumel Island. It is a natural habitat to many endemic but also threatened or endangered species, such as Caretta caretta, Ctenosaura similis, Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricada, among others. The Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber and the White-crowned Pigeon (Columba leucocephala) use this area as their seasonal habitat. It includes mangrove species that are under special protection, such as Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Conocarpus erecta, that represent a natural barrier for the coastline and protect the island from various climate phenomena, reducing the damage caused inland. The main land uses in the site are related to tourism and commerce. Some of the main factors that negatively affect the site include tourism, biodiversity loss, overfishing, water pollution, extraction of material for construction. There is a federal proposal to protect a land portion of the northern part of the island by designating it as an Area for Protection of Flora and Fauna in Cozumel Island (APFFC). Once this area is designated as an APFCC, a Programme of Conservation and Management will be put in place to regulate the activities that negatively affect this site. Ramsar Site n°1921. Most recent RIS information: 2009.
Manglares y humedales de Tuxpan. 02/02/06; Veracruz; 6,870 ha; 21°00'N 097°21'W. The Tuxpan river separates the mangroves and wetlands of Tuxpan into the northern mangroves of the Tampamachoco lagoon and the southern mangroves associated with the Tumilco and Jácome estuaries. The importance of this site lies in its vast and well-preserved mangrove area, one of the largest in the Gulf of Mexico, with approximately 3,500 ha of mangroves reaching 8-15m in height. Some 179 fish species make this wetland one of the richest in fish diversity in the Atlantic coast of Mexico. Threatened species include the cantil snake (Agkistrodon bilineatus), the pale-billed woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis), the spiny-tailed or black iguana (Ctenosaura acanthura) and the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Ramsar site No. 1602. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Marismas Nacionales. 22/06/95; Sinaloa, Nayarit; 200,000 ha; 22º08’N 105º32’W. Large network of brackish coastal lagoons, mangroves, swamps, and saltmarshes fed by several rivers. The site includes estuaries, the most extensive mangroves of the Mexican Pacific (20% of all the mangroves in the country), timber-grade forests, and pastures. At least 60 species of nationally or internationally endangered vertebrates occur here, including 51 endemic ones, 36 of which are endemic birds. The Orbygnia palm forests on sand bars constitute a threatened community. Numerous creeks have been transformed into large prawn farms, and pressure continues. This could become an economically important activity in the area. Other human activities include traditional fishing and cattle ranching; limited numbers of pigs, fowl and bees are also kept. Fruit and seeds are exploited by industry and leaves are gathered for handicrafts and roof thatch. Ramsar site no. 732. Most recent RIS information: 2001.
Oasis de la Sierra El Pilar. 02/02/08; Baja California Sur; 180,803 ha; 24º44’N 110º55´W. Located in the western slope of Sierra del Mechudo, the site comprises numerous oases of great hydrological and biological importance, supporting unique fauna species such as the Peninsular clingfish (Gobiesox juniperoserrai) and the Killifish (Fundulus lima), both considered endangered. The oases represent very fragile ecosystems, mainly affected by natural causes such as extreme droughts and human activities including unsustainable agriculture and livestock. Among the main threats that negatively affect the site are the presence of invasive fish species (Tilapia cf. zilli, Poecillia reticulata, Xiphophorus helleri and X. maculatus) and plants (Cryptostegia grandiflora); the construction of hydroelectric power stations to use water from the springs; and the use of biotic resources without a management plan and control, such as illegal hunting and extensive livestock of ungulates. Ramsar site no. 1794. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Oasis Sierra de La Giganta. 02/02/08; Baja California Sur; 41,181 ha; 25°51’N 111°23’W. A site characterized by sheer slopes on the eastern side of Sierra de la Giganta, with small coastal alluvial plains. On the coast, small clusters of mangroves Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Rhizophora mangle are registered. The pools support a population of the species Ovis canadensis, which is under special protection. There are endemic flora species including the Prosopis palmeri and fauna species such as Gambelia copeii, endemic to the Peninsula. The coastal area of this site belongs to the zone of marine restricted use Protected Natural Area “Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto”. Tourism, forestry, agriculture and water extraction for urban consumption are amongst the main land uses of this site. Ramsar site no. 1793. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Otoch Ma´ax Yetel Kooh. 02/02/08;Yucatán; 5,367 ha; 20°38'N 087°37'W. Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna. Complex of lagoons, wide flooding depressions, and cenotes (a type of sinkholes containing groundwater), functioning for water retention and recharge of groundwater. The site is important for climate regulation at a regional level and supports a rich composition of flora and fauna species. It is known as one of the five potential focal points of action for the conservation of primates of the Yucatan Peninsula, in particular the black-handed spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi). This complex of wetlands shelters a number of endangered species, including the King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), the Banded Anteater (Tamandua mexicana), the Black-handed spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra), the Margay (Leopardus wiedii), and the Tayra (Eira Barbara). The most common land uses in the site include coal production, apiculture, subsistence hunting, ecotourism, and corn crops. The National Commission of Protected Natural Areas is in charge of the administration of this site. Ramsar site no. 1763. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Parque Estatal "Cañón de Fernández". 02/02/08; Durango; 17,002 ha; 25°21'N 103°44'W. Parque Estatal. A riparian wetland crossed by the Nazas river, located in northwest Mexico. It supports a great number of vulnerable and endangered species, as well as threatened ecological communities, and is a hotspot of flora and fauna endemism. The landscape is dominated by xerophytic brush in slopes and plains. The site also supports a variety of species important for sustaining the biological diversity of the biogeographic region, constituting a germoplasm bank and an important shelter area for wildlife during droughts and extreme temperatures. This wetland contributes to the recharge of aquifers and the moderation of local climate. It works as a biological corridor between two ecosystems of regional importance (the Chihuahuense Desert and the Temperate Forests of the Sierra Madre Occidental). The main land uses are agriculture, livestock, fishing, industry and recreation. The main threat to the site is related to the mortality and morbidity of tree species, caused mainly by the dispersion of mistletoe (Phoradendron sp.), as it compromises the viability of the Montezuma Cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) and the Cottonwood (Populus sp.) populations. Other threats are related to the decrease of circulating water, the change in the regime of running and standing waters, and in general, the landscape changes created by the Francisco Zarco Dam. These are permanent threats that will remain as long as the dam is in operation. The Park has had a management plan since 2003. Ramsar site no. 1747. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Parque Estatal Lagunas de Yalahau. 02/02/07; Yucatán; 5,683 ha; 20º38'N 089º13'W. Parque Estatal. Comprising a series of continental wetlands, with lagoons and deep underground water reservoirs being the most representative. The underground reservoirs are typical of the karstic systems of the Yucatan Peninsula. This, combined with the topography of the region, allows a diversity of habitats which host a variety of animal and plant species, many of which are migratory, endemic and/or in danger of extinction; among the latter are the Northern Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana), the Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), the Tayra (Eira barbara), the Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), the Margay (Leopardus wiedii) and the Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis). During winter, the park gives shelter to migratory birds, and during the dry season, the lagoons and the deep underground water reservoirs provide a source of water for species like the Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletti), the White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and the Jaguar (Panthera onca). The dominant vegetation type is tropical deciduous forest with more than 200 plant species, a high number given the small size of the area. The low inundated forests, found in small portions adjacent to the lagoons, are dominated by tree species such as Dalbergia glabra, Haematoxylum campechianum, and Mimosa bahamensi). Land and cattle activities are common in the site. Illegal hunting is the main activity negatively affecting the site. Areas previously affected by anthropogenic activity are already under restoration. Ramsar site no. 1690. Most recent RIS information: 2007.
Parque Nacional Arrecife Alacranes. 02/02/08; Yucatán; 334,113 ha; 22°28´N 089°41´W. National Park. The most important coral formation in the Gulf of Mexico and one of the largest coral reefs of the country. It has five islands and supports a great biological diversity. The site is important for the preservation of germoplasm of endangered, endemic and useful species for humans. The conservation status of the coral reef is considered good, although the impact of human activities in the subaquatic medium is less known than in the terrestrial. It is BirdLife International Important Bird Area (IBA) for being the most important nesting site in the Gulf of Mexico for the bird species S. dactylatra, S. leucogaster, Sterna fuscata and Anous stolidus. In the sandy islands of Arrecife Alacranes, a great number of resident, migratory and occasional bird species have been registered. The site also supports four endangered species of marine turtles, threatened bird species Accipiter striatus, Falco peregrinus and Charadrius melodus and the coral species Plexaura homomalla, Plexaurelladichotoma, Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata. Until the 1940s, the Caribbean Monk Seal (Monachus tropicales) lived in this park but was exploited to extinction. The main threats the site faces are the presence of introduced species and the extraction of corals as “souvenirs”. The site has had a management plan since 2006. Ramsar site no. 1820. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel. 02/02/05; Quintana Roo; 11,987 ha; 20º16'N 087º02'W. National Park. The site covers the coral reefs off the southern coast of Cozumel island, one of the prime destinations for divers worldwide. Hard and soft corals, zoanthids, polychaets, actinarians, hydroids, sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms and reef fish are very diverse, as well as algae and sea grasses. The park is habitat to numerous endangered species, such as the Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Green (Chelonia mydas) turtles, the Queen triggerfish (Balistes vetula) and the endemic Splendid Toadfish (Sanopus splendidus). Lobster, crab and pink conch Strombus gigas are comercially fished, populations of the latter having recovered following a prolonged fishing ban. Highly conspicuous fish are the Cat (Ginglymostoma cirratum), Tiger (Galeocerdo cuvieri) and Blacktip (Carcharinus limbatus) sharks, as well as the Southern stingray (Dasyatis americana). The reefs develop in underwater cliffs, whereas there are some coastal lagoons and sand bars at the tip of the island. On the shore, stands of Red Mangrove Rhizophora mangle and coastal scrub are the main vegetation types. Over 1,500 divers visit the park every day, and there are concerns over the impacts of scuba diving, especially at night. Hotel development has contributed to a deterioration of water quality through their discharges. A management plan is in place since 1998 regulating diving, fishing, navigation, anchoring and other activities. Ramsar site no. 1449. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Parque Nacional Arrecife de Puerto Morelos. 02/02/04; Quintana Roo; 9,066 ha; 20º55'N 86º50'W. National Park. Part of the great Mesoamerican reef, known as the second biggest coral reef in the world. It contains rich biological communities among the coral formations and a wide reef lagoon with sea grasses fields. All these ecosystems are well conserved and have great ecological, economic, recreational, commercial, historical, educative and aesthetic values as well as an important interest for scientific research. From the human point of view, the conservation of the coral reef is vital for the 5,000 inhabitants of Puerto Morelos, who live by fishing, tourism income and scientific activities, the future of which depend on the health of the ecosystem. The terrestrial part of the designated site is also important because of the presence of some mangrove area and some turtle breeding beaches. Mangroves are today the most threatened ecosystem in this area. Gathering of information for designation of the site was supported by the Ramsar Wetlands for the Future Initiative. Ramsar site no. 1343. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Xcalak. 27/11/03; Quintana Roo; 17,949 ha; 18º20'N 087º48'W. National Park. A well preserved area on the Caribbean coast bordering Belize, comprising coral reefs, coastal lagoons, beaches, mangrove swamps and karstic aquifers. An atypical submarine relief of massifs and channels, known as "La Poza", is one of the main highlights of the site. Endangered and near-threatened animals such as Baird's Tapir Tapirus bairdii, the Jaguar Panthera Onca, the American Manatee Trichechus manatus, the Central American Cacomistle Bassariscus sumichrasti, and the Black Catbird Melanoptila glabrirostris inhabit the park. A number of waterbirds are common nesters in the site, while the mangrove swamps and lagoons are important for spawning Rock-cod Ephinephelus striatus. Coral reefs are dominated by Elkhorn Coral Acropora palmata and fish species such as Noronha wrasse Thalassoma bifasciatum and Blue Tang Acanthurus coeruleus. Commercial fishing is regulated, though closed seasons are not fully enforced. Scuba diving and sport fishing are the main tourist activities, but large-scale hotel developments are expected in the near future, with possible threats to the ecosystem. A management plan will soon be published addressing these issues. Ramsar site no. 1320. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto. 02/02/04; Baja California Sur; 206,581 ha; 25°49'N 111°08'W. National Park. The Coronados, Danzante, Montserrat, Catalana and del Carmen islands form this archipelago off the eastern shores of Baja California. The diversity of marine mammals in the islands is higher than anywhere else in Mexico, with frequent sightings of Blue Whales Balaenoptera musculus, Fin Whales B. physalus, Humpbacked Whales Megaptera noveangliae; as well as Orcas and dolphins, amongst others. Spondylus calcifer, Pinctada mazatlanctica and the Widemouth Rocksnail Purpura patula are protected mussel species found in the park, while the Jumbo Squid Dosidicus gigas comes to lay its eggs in its waters. Endemic species or subspecies of mammals and reptiles in the different islands are also to be highlighted. The islands have arid climate, rocky slopes and desert vegetation, including seven endemic species, plus small inlets with mangrove forests. Seaweeds (Sargassum spp.) are found to 5m depth, while Amphiroa spp. and others reach 20 to 30m depth. Fishing is the main economic activity, and the breach of fishing laws and sustainable practices the main problem. Tourism is also important - visitors not only enjoy the natural landscape but also historical ruins of missions and an ancient whale grease processing plant. A management plan has been approved. Ramsar site no. 1358. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Parque Nacional Cañón del Sumidero. 02/02/04; Chiapas; 21,789 ha. 16°52'N 093°07'W. National Park. The Grijalva River cuts a canyon landscape of chalk and basalt rockwalls up to 1000 meters in height, partially flooded by the Chicoasén Dam. Threatened species like the Great Curassow Crax rubra, the Spider Monkey Ateles geoffroyi, the American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus and the ocelot Leopardus wiedii find refuge in the park. Vegetation types range from deciduous forest to oak-pine forest, crasicaule (plants growing on the canyon walls), grasslands and agricultural areas. The canyon is the symbol in the coat of arms of Chiapas, whose capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, is close to the south border of the park. Besides power generation, the main human activities in the park are coffee planting at low scale. Rapid population growth is posing threats to the park as more areas are destined to agriculture and grazing in steep zones subject to wind erosion and soil loss. Nearly 300,000 tourists visit the site every year, and sport activities such as rappeling, mountain biking, kayaking and swimming are done regularly. A management plan is being reviewed for implementation. Ramsar site no. 1344. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Parque Nacional Cabo Pulmo. 02/02/08; Baja California Sur; 7,100 ha; 23°27’N 109°25’W. National Park. UNESCO World Heritage site. This is one of the only coral reefs found in the eastern Pacific and the only one in the Gulf of California. More than 20,000 years old, it is one of the oldest coral reefs in the American Pacific. Among the noteworthy fauna are five endangered marine turtle species (Caretta caretta, Chelonia agassizi, Dermochelyscoriacea, Eretmochelys imbricata y Lepidochelys olivacea) and six cetacean species (Balaenoptera edén, Balaenoptera physalus, Megaptera novaeangliae, Stenella longirostris, Steno bredanensis, Tursiops truncatus) found under special protection. The site is home to 11 of the 14 species of hermatypic corals. Concerning fish communities, 226 reef species have been sighted, and the site is extremely important for numerous bird species. 99% of the site is marine and the only land portion comprises the beaches included in the Terrestrial Federal Marine Zone. The adverse factors in the site are mainly sport fishing, nautical traffic and pollution damaging corals and other species. The site has had a management plan since 2006. Ramsar site no. 1778. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Parque Nacional Isla Contoy. 27/11/03; Quintana Roo; 5,126 ha; 21º29'N 086º47'W. National Park. One of the northernmost islands in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, 50km north of Cancún and 13km off the mainland Yucatán peninsula, the principal nesting site for seabirds in the Mexican Caribbean. Coastal dunes, mangroves, lagoons, low forest and coconut palm trees dominate the terrestrial landscape of the island, while marine environments include sea-grass beds and coral reefs. Marine fish stocks are significant due to the abundance of plankton provided by the upwelling of cold submarine currents. Mammals are notably absent from the island. The endangered Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles nest on Isla Contoy, as well as the Horseshoe Crab Limulus polyphemus and large colonies of Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens, Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus and Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis. A management plan regulates lobster fishing, sports fishing and tourist activities, and there is a fully equipped visitor and information centre. Rapid tourist development on the mainland coast poses threats to the island, as well as hurricanes such as Isidore in 2002. Ramsar site no. 1323. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Parque Nacional Isla Isabel. 27/11/03; Nayarit; 94 ha; 21º 51'N 105º 53'W. National Park. Volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean 70km off the port of San Blas. Deciduous tropical forest over lava soils, grasses, bare rock, islets, cliffs, sand beaches, surrounding coral reefs and a crater lake with hypersaline water compose a stunning landscape. Isla Isabel is one of the main nesting islands for seabirds in the Pacific, including large colonies of Magnificent Frigate birds Fregata magnificens (11,800 individuals), Blue-footed Boobies Sula nebouxii, Brown Boobies Sula leucogaster and Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata. Marine life is rich, with over 24 shark and ray species, three species of sea turtles, the California Sea Lion Zalophus californianus, Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae and Killer Whale Orcinus orca. The island is uninhabited, though there is a seabird reproductive research program run by UNAM and tourists visit to camp, fish and bird watch. After having depleted a huge colony of Sooty Terns, which in 1978 had over 150,000 pairs, cats were finally eradicated from the island in 1995 and the Terns are slowly recovering. The impact of hurricanes, fishing activities and tourism has been of concern. A management plan is in a final stage of approval. Ramsar site no. 1324. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello. 27/11/03; Chiapas; 6,022 ha; 16º06'N 091º43'W. National Park, Important Bird Area. A complex of permanent and seasonal freshwater karstic wetlands and caves on the border with Guatemala, average altitude 1500m, amidst forests that share traits of tropical and temperate vegetation. Mixed communities of pine, oak and sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua are dominant within the park. The site is noteworthy for its diversity of orchids, butterflies, and birds, the latter including the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler Dendroica chrysoparia. Many of the caves are considered holy by indigenous communities, who visit them on pilgrimage. Locals live mainly off agriculture and tourism. Forest fires are increasingly common: in 1998, 50% of the park was burnt. Water pollution and unregulated tourism are also of concern, but a management mlan was recently finished to address these and other issues. Awareness campaigns are constantly carried out with locals and there are ongoing research activities. Ramsar site no. 1325. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Parque Nacional Sistema Arrecifal Veracruzano. 02/02/04; Veracruz; 52,238 ha; 19°08'N 096°00'W. National Park. Just offshore the city of Veracruz, this National Park in the Gulf of Mexico comprises 23 coral reefs in two distinct areas, rising from depths of around 40m. The reef is very rich in fauna and a favorite diving destination, boasting 84 different coral species, 339 mollusks, 47 sponges and 140 crustaceans. There are large seagrass beds, and pioneer coastal dune vegetation, coconut palms and mangroves are present in the emerged keys, as well as the Florida Cherry palm Pseudophoenix sargentii. Three main rivers have outlets in the vicinity, La Antigua, Jamapa-Atoyac, and Papaloapan, jointly discharging significant amounts of freshwater and sediments in the area, which pose a problem of turbidity. Additionally, water pollution comes from sewage and industrial waters from Veracruz and large vessels navigating close to the reefs. Overfishing is also affecting populations of lobsters, octopi and other species. In spite of these pressures, the recovery rate of the reef is greater than that of others in the Gulf of Mexico. The Veracruz Aquarium carries out monitoring of turtle nesting in the keys and a management plan is being drafted for the site. Ramsar site no. 1346. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Playa Barra de la Cruz. 02/02/08; Oaxaca; 18 ha; 15º50’N 095º56’W. The site consists of sandy beaches of great importance as a nesting ground for three marine turtle species: Dermochelys coriacea from October to March, Lepidochelys olivacea through out the year, and Chelonia mydas from October to January. It also supports a great variety of vertebrates including migratory birds such as Pelecanus occidentalis, Charadrius sp., Sterna sp; resident bird species like Fregata magnificens, Larus argentatus, Casmerodius alvus and Phalacrocorax sp., and in lesser quantities small mammals such as Nassua Larica, Procyon lotor, and Conepatus mesoleucus, as well as reptiles, amphibians and fish. During the winter, migratory birds have been registered using the estuaries as a resting stop during their long journeys. Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncates) are regularly observed close to the coast and groups of Humpback Whales Megaptera novaengliae can be seen when migrating to the southwest December and January and to the northeast during March and April. Ramsar site no. 1821. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Playa de Colola. 02/02/08; Michoacán; 287 ha; 18°18’N 103°25’W. Área Natural Protegida Federal ‘Santuario’. About 5 km of sandy beaches, with 150m width, surrounded by different types of shrubs, located in western central region of Mexico. The beach is highly significant as a major nesting site for three marine turtles found under IUCN, national, and CITES Appendix I protection categories: the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and the Green Turtle (Chelonia agassizii). It is estimated that about 70% of the population of the Green Turtle comes to this beach to nest and breed in the waters near the beach. The turtles are exposed to dangers caused by humans since the nesting females can be easily caught. The eggs are extracted by the locals for personal consumption, or can be extracted by animals digging through the nests. Another situation in which the turtles are endangered is during the reproductive interactions, which take place near the beach at sea – males and females are then vulnerable to illegal capture and distribution by coastal fishing vessels. Causes that negatively affect the site are due to unorganized population increase of Colola, which compromises the habitat where the turtles lay their eggs. Tourism activities are also increasing, which if unmonitored can cause additional disturbances to nesting females and the site itself. The beach is part of a Federal Protected Area under the “Sanctuary” category. Ramsar site no. 1788. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Playa de Maruata. 02/02/08; Michoacán; 80 ha; 18º16’N 103º21’W. Área Natural Protegida. A marine-costal wetland in the western central region of Mexico that includes three beaches. This beach is of great importance as a nesting site for three marine turtles: the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and the Green Turtle (Chelonia agassizii), all of them under different categories of protection (IUCN, the national legislation, and CITES Appendix I). 20% of the total population of Chelonia agassizii’s reproductive population nests in Playa de Maruata, which makes them vulnerable to predation. The site is a Natural Protected Area dedicated to conservation activities for marine turtles. Ramsar site no. 1795. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Playa Tortuguera Cahuitán. 02/02/04; Oaxaca. 65 ha; 16°17'N 098°29'W. An important nesting beach for three species of endangered marine turtles in the Pacific Ocean: Leatherback Dermochelys coriacea, nesting from October to March; Olive Ridley Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea, nesting year-round; and the Green Turtle Chelonia mydas, nesting from October to January. The beach is a highly dynamic system with large tidal surges, which can form sand walls of up to 2 metres high. Adjacent areas have been severely deforested, but extensions of Red Mangrove Rhizophora mangle, Enterolobiun cyclocarpum and Roseodendron donellsmithi remain, used locally for house building and woodwork. Leatherback turtles have been intensely surveyed since 1996, protecting nestlings and releasing newborns to the sea. However, there is an alarming diminishing trend of nestlings, attributed to nest looting by locals and the accidental capture of females by fishing lines in South America. Artificial illumination, waste disposal and the prospects of tourism development are also reported as threats for the turtles. There are future plans for designating this beach as a Wildlife Sanctuary. Ramsar site no. 1347. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Playa Tortuguera Chenkán. 02/02/04; Campeche; 121 ha; 19°06'N 091°00'W. An important nesting site for the endangered Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata and the Green Turtle Chelonia mydas. Coastal dune communities feature the Seagrape Coccoloba uvifer, Largeleaf Geigertree Cordia sebestana, Ipomea pescaprea and Jaquinia flamma. A stretch of mangrove forest is found behind the beach, as well as deciduous forest. Lylisoma bahamensis, Piscidia piscipula, Bursera simaruba and Croton flavens are the more common species of trees. Oil and natural gas exploration in the Campeche Sound have caused some water pollution, and there are concerns for the risks for turtles. Northerly winds, tropical depressions and hurricanes have made the beach retreat in width, while coconut palms are suffering from lethal yellowing. A research camp has been built to monitor turtle populations and do awareness activities with local communities. There are plans to designate this beach as a Wildlife Sanctuary. Ramsar site no. 1348. Most recent RIS information: 2009.
Playa Tortuguera El Verde Camacho. 02/02/04; Sinaloa; 6,454 ha; 23°24'N 106°32'W. Wildlife Reserve. The 25km long beach is the most important reproductive area for the Olive Ridley Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea in the state of Sinaloa (Gulf of California), where they arrive to nest in groups of 40-50 individuals per night. It is also feeding and migration habitat for the Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata, Black turtle Chelonia agassizi, and sporadically, the Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea, all of them endangered species and experiencing notorious decline in numbers. Due to the influx of the Quelite River, coastal lagoons behind the beach are both brackish and freshwater. They provide refuge to resident and migratory birds and nursery waters to economically important fish species such as pargos Lutjanus spp. Mangrove forests dominated by Laguncularia racemosa and deciduous tropical forest are the dominant vegetation. Aquaculture, fishing, agriculture and tourism are the main uses of the site. Building, night illumination, waste disposal and the transit of 4x4 vehicles affect the quality of the beach as turtle nesting ground, while fish farming and agriculture are modifying the hydrological regime and causing pollution and sedimentation. Turtle nesting has been monitored and researched since 1975, and a management plan is pending official approval. Ramsar site no. 1349. Most recent RIS information: 2006.
Playa Tortuguera Rancho Nuevo. 27/11/03; Tamaulipas; 30 ha; 23º14'N 097º46'W. Wildlife Reserve. A stretch of sandy and gently sloping beach of over 30km on Gulf of Mexico, the only reproductive area in the world for the Atlantic Ridley Sea Turtle Lepidochelys kempi, which is endemic and critically endangered. The also endangered Green Turtle Chelonia mydas nest on the beach, and sporadically the Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtle. Since 1964, study and monitoring of the turtle nesting seasons have taken place jointly between Mexican and U.S. institutions. Areas of intertidal marshes, mangroves, lagoons and low deciduous forests are other features of the site. There is an important level of diversity of mollusks, crustaceans, fish, birds and marine mammals. The area is off limits to outside visitors, but local people harvest oyster and crab. Ramsar site no. 1326. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Playa Tortuguera Tierra Colorada. 27/11/03; Guerrero; 54 ha; 16º25'N 098º38'W. Wildlife Reserve. An ocean-battered beach on the south central Pacific Coast, one of the most important nesting areas for the critically endangered Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea, and relevant also for the endangered Olive Ridley Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea and Green Turtle Chelonia mydas. American Crocodiles Crocodilus acutus have also been reported. Coastal dune vegetation, mangrove forests and desert scrub are found in the area, which although modified by anthropic uses sustain important biodiversity. Fishing is an important economic activity, and there is considerable exploitation of turtles and other reptiles for selling and eating. Cattle and dogs on the beaches are a problem, as well as coconut and mango plantations and potential threats from plans for new tourism development and the dredging of the beach for a wharf. Since 1995, UNAM and SEMARNAT have carried out research on marine turtles and seasonal beach cleaning campaigns. Ramsar site no. 1327. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Playa Tortuguera X'cacel-X'cacelito. 02/02/04; Quintana Roo; 362 ha; 20º20'N 87º21'W. National Sanctuary. The site has the highest breeding index in the Quintana Roo State and in Mexico for the Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). It also includes a terrestrial band of 35 ha because of the importance of its vegetation: forests of Kuka palms (Pseudophoenix sargentti), Florida Thatch palm (Thrina radiata) and mangroves (Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Conocarpus erecta). The area also presents some underground water outcrops close to the sea shore that enhance the development of aquatic vegetation and the abundance of juvenile fishes and coral, some listed on the Endangered Species Lists. The main threat to the X'Cacel and X'Cacelito beaches is the land ownership - the site lies on private properties and though the turtles have been traditionally protected by the landowners, some tourist infrastructures development projects could threaten the site and its fauna, as e.g. the one presented in 1999 and rejected by the Federal Government in 2001. Ramsar site no. 1351. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Playón Mexiquillo. 02/02/04; Michoacán; 67 ha; 18°07'N 102°52'W. National Sanctuary. The Mexiquillo beach is important for the breeding of three species of marine turtles: the Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) and the Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas); it is considered one of the five most important beaches for the breeding of the Leatherback turtle in the Mexican and Mesoamerican Pacific. This species has been included in the IUCN List of Threatened Species since 2000 and the three species are protected under the Mexican law and listed by CITES. The site is still well conserved, but an increase in the tourist sector during the past few years could imply the urbanization of the area. The lack of strict protection of the beach area, and its frequent use by 4-wheel-drive vehicles, is also a major threat to the turtles populations as well as to the fragile vegetation of the beaches. Ramsar site no. 1350. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Presa de Atlangatepec. 02/02/09; Tlaxcala; 1,200 ha; 19°33'39"N 098°10'49"W. This dam has a great diversity of flora and fauna, with 87 registered species of birds associated with wetlands. During the winter the species diversity increases by thousands of ducks and other waterfowl species such as Pintail (Anas acuta), Gadwall (Anas strepera), American Wigeon (Anas americana), the Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), the Mexican Duck (Anas diazi), the Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), among others. The site is also home to species listed nationally as threatened, such as the Mexican Duck (Anas diazi, endemic to Mexico), the American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) and the Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum). The site is important for groundwater recharge and flood control, and it also retains, retrieves, and removes excess nutrients and pollutants. Adverse factors include changes in land use by opening land for agriculture and livestock, leading to a process of soil degradation due to mismanagement. The main land use is fishing. Ramsar Site no. 1986. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Presa Jalpan. 02/02/04; Querétaro; 68 ha; 21º12'N 099º28W. The Jalpan dam was built on the riverbed of the Jalpan river, its only water source; it has a maximum capacity of 8 million liters and is a breeding site and shelter for 33 resident and migratory bird species. The greatest colonies are the Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) and some herons like the Snowy egret (Egretta thula), the Cattle egret (Bubulca ibis), and the Great egret (Casmerodius albus). There are in total 140 bird species around the dam, including waterfowl. Of the "non water" species, 8 have a special protection status and 5 are endemic in Mexico. Around the dam several mammal species can be found like the White-nosed Coati (Nasua narica), the Tree Ocelot (Leopardus weidii), the Jaguarondi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) and occasionally the Cougar or Florida Panther (Felis concolor). The Jalpan dam is used primarily for water supply for domestic uses. Sedimentation caused by deforestation and erosion is the main threat to the area, though massive tourism is also a potentially key factor. Ramsar site no. 1352. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Presa La Vega. 02/02/10; Jalisco; 1,950 ha; 20°37'59"N 103°50'50"W. An artificial wetland including a dam and open water, permanent and intermittent rivers and streams, and the irrigation system surrounding the reservoir. The site has a high socio-economic importance because it is the largest water body in the state's central-western area, which generates jobs and is the main source of water for surrounding irrigation systems. It sustains a diversity of waterfowl species, some of which are protected under national law, such as the wood duck (Aix sponsa), as well as endemic fish like the Butterfly Splitfin (Ameca splendens). The main threat to the site is water pollution from neighboring communities. A management plan adopted in 2008 is being partially implemented. Ramsar Site no. 2026. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Presa Manuel Ávila Camacho (Presa Valsequillo). 02/02/12; Puebla; 23,612 ha; 18º55'00"N 098º10'58"W. Located on the southern side of the municipality of Puebla, the site is part of a network of conservation sites and part of an important wildlife corridor. It is also a center where three key endemism areas of the ecoregions Temperate Sierras and Dry tropical forest converge. The site provides refuge to at least 97 species of migratory birds, representing at least the 42% of the species recorded in the site. It also harbors a wide range of species of birds, mammals and reptiles under national protection, as well as the IUCN Red-Listed Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus). Besides the ecological services that it provides, the long cultural history of the site is an important heritage of humanity. Its zone of influence provides considerable documentation of prehispanic civilizations, including the oldest evidence of human presence in America, and the present city, founded in 1531, was one of the most important colonial cities and is now Mexico's fourth largest. Challenges to the site include urban and industrial growth; and deforestation is a problem for the whole area. Ramsar Site no. 2027. Most recent RIS information: 2011.
Reserva de la Biosfera Archipiélago de Revillagigedo. 02/02/04; Mexican Island Territory; 636,685 ha; 18°50'N 112°47'W. Reserva de la Biosfera. Nearly 400km offshore in the Pacific Ocean, this volcanic archipelago is home to a unique set of endemic flora and fauna as well as well-preserved terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Isla Socorro is the largest island, with the Evermann volcano peaking 1050 meters, followed by Clarión, San Benedicto and Roca Partida islands. Socorro presents an interesting array of vegetation following the altitudinal gradient, featuring coastal halophytes, shrubs of Dodonaea viscosa, Guettarda insularis, Croton masonii; forests of Figs Ficus cotinifolia, Bumelia socorroensis and Psidium galapageium. Ten endemic species and subspecies of birds have been recorded in Socorro; however, three of them, including the Soccorro Dove Zenaida graysoni are considered extinct in the wild (there are plans of reintroduction with several captive individuals in Germany). The site is well preserved and uninhabited, apart from some navy officers. Diving and fishing groups visit the islands regularly. Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and fires pose risks to the islands' wildlife, but invasive species remain the main threat. The federal government funds a group of technicians to eradicate introduced sheep, pigs and rabbits. A management plan is in place. Ramsar site no. 1357. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Reserva de la Biosfera Banco Chinchorro. 02/02/04; Quintana Roo; 144,360 ha; 18º35'N 87º20'W. Reserva de la Biosfera. Reefs complex classified as a false atoll, or platform reef, the lagoon contains seagrass beds and sandy areas, with an average depth of 6m. It has four types of habitats: coral reefs, seagrass beds, sandy areas and mangroves. At least 15 species of threatened fauna and flora are present in this area, despite its small size. Two species of great economic importance are also present in the lagoon: the Spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) and the Queen conch (Strombus gigas) - controlled fishing techniques allow for the conservation of both species. The merging parts of the area are frequently used by migratory and local birds for feeding and resting. Fishing is the only economic activity in the area but some tourist plans may prove to be a threat. Gathering of information for designation of the site was supported by the Ramsar Wetlands for the Future Initiative. Ramsar site no. 1353. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Reserva de la Biosfera Chamela-Cuixmala. 02/02/04; Jalisco; 13,142 ha; 19°29'N 104°59'W. Reserva de la Biosfera. The site comprises a mountainous landscape, rocky coasts and a deltaic plain on the Pacific coast, noteworthy for its communities of deciduous tropical forest. The estuary of the Cuixmala River and the lagoons of El Corte y La Manzanillera are home of a population of 600 American Crocodiles and nesting site of several marine turtles and the southernmost colony of Least Terns Sterna antillarum. The forests host pumas, ocelots and jaguars and is the only known site for the rat Xenomys nelsoni. The reserve is uninhabited and the vegetation is well preserved. Fishing, hunting and scientific research by UNAM are the main human activities, thus making the site one of the best known tropical areas in terms of ecology. A management plan is being implemented. Ramsar site no. 1334. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Reserva de la Biosfera La Encrucijada. 20/03/96; Chiapas; 144,868 ha; 15º11’N 092º53’W. Reserva de la Biosfera. The only area in Chiapas that protects the ecosystems, fauna, and flora of coastal wetlands. Composed of coastal lagoons, swamps and marshes forming the largest area of mangrove forest in the North American Pacific, it is also the only zapotonal woodland (Pachira acuatica) in Central America. The site supports a large variety of wildlife that is threatened, endemic, rare, or in danger of extinction. 183 bird species have been reported, and it is a temporary and seasonal habitat for numerous migratory species. Nine of 19 vegetative associations recorded for Chiapas are present. Archaeological remains from 5,500 years ago are found as well. Human activities include an important commercial fishery, slash-and-burn agriculture, extensive cattle ranching, and exploitation of the area’s fauna. Sedimentation due to poorly planned water projects, deforestation, and slash-and-burn agriculture impact upon lagoons and lakes. Ramsar site no. 815. Most recent RIS information: 2001.
Reserva de la Biosfera Los Petenes. 02/02/04; Campeche; 282,857 ha; 20°11'N 090°32'W. Reserva de la Biosfera. Located in the western Yucatan peninsula just north of the city of Campeche, whose old town is a World Heritage Site. Los Petenes owes its name to this unique ecosystem, consisting of islands of low seasonally flooded and/or mangrove forests associated with underwater springs from sinkholes or cenotes. The marine parts of the site are noteworthy for their seagrass beds, while inland the landscape is dominated by a saline wetland dotted with petenes. Worth highlighting are the communities of Button Mangrove Conocarpus erectus and Campeche Wood Haematoxylum campechianum. There are several globally near-threatened species, such as the Horseshoe Crab Limulus polyphemus and the Jabiru Jabiru mycteria. The site also hosts relatively large colonies of the White Ibis Eudocimus albus and Greater Flamingoes Phoenicopterus ruber. Cod, sardines, shrimp and octopus fishing are the main human activities in the site. Overfishing of stocks and illegal tree felling are the main problems, as well as the lack of the implementation of the management plan. In 2003, a joint council of several institutions was established to carry out a conservation initiative in western Yucatan. Ramsar site no. 1354. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Reserva de la Biosfera Pantanos de Centla. 22/06/95; Tabasco; 302,706 ha; 18º18’N 092º27’W. Reserva de la Biosfera. Hydrologically, one of the most important sites of its kind in Mesoamerica, influencing the ecology from southern Mexico to northern Guatemala. The site consists of 110 (permanent and temporary) freshwater bodies important for fishing and flood regulation. Permanently flooded freshwater swamp is the most prevalent wetland type, and the site includes brackish lagoons, estuaries, mangroves, seasonally flooded saltmarshes, freshwater swamps and agricultural land. The lagoons play a key role in the life cycles of many marine species. The area has one of the most important aquatic vascular floras of Mesoamerica, consisting of 76 plant species used by people, 13 rare or threatened species of flora, and several nationally or internationally rare or threatened species of animals. Land uses include various traditional subsistence activities. The fishery is the most important source of protein and income for local people. There is intensive commercial hunting. Ramsar site no. 733. Most recent RIS information: 2001.
Reserva de la Biosfera Ría Celestún. 02/02/04; Yucatán; 81,482 ha; 20º45'N 090º22'W. Reserva de la Biosfera. A diverse complex of wetlands including mangroves, seagrass beds, small estuaries, coastal dunes, hypersaline coastal lagoons, karstic caves and other coastal wetland types. Fresh water from subterranean aquifers have an outlet in the site. Eight specific vegetation zones are present, providing habitat for several notable or endangered species of plants. The vegetative diversity gives rise to an abundant fauna, representing a high percentage of species known in the Yucatan, including numerous threatened or endangered species. The site is of particular importance as a nesting and feeding site for turtles and migratory birds. Human activities include fishing, tourism, and salt extraction. Special research and educational efforts are devoted to the protection and conservation of biodiversity in the area. Ramsar site no. 1333. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Reserva Estatal El Palmar. 27/11/03; Yucatán; 50,177 ha; 21º03'N 090º12'W. State Reserve. The site lies on the northwestern coast of the Yucatán peninsula and features mangroves, seagrass beds and tidal flats, as well as coastal dune vegetation, petenes (emerging islands of forests protected from saline intrusions), sinkholes or cenotes, swamp forests and low deciduous forest. El Palmar harbours a significant population of Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus ruber, and 15 duck species have been recorded. The site also provides nesting ground for the endangered Hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata, for which a nest survey and liberation programme is underway. Fishing, agriculture, hunting and palm leaf collection are the main economic activities, which also represent the main potential threats to the site. Federal, state and municipal authorities as well as NGOs, communities and academic institutions participate in a board that manages the reserve. Training, restoration and awareness activities have been carried out successfully. Ramsar site no. 1328. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Río Sabinas. 02/02/08; Coahuila de Zaragoza; 603,123 ha; 27°53'N 101°09'W. Natural Resources Protection Area. The Rio Sabinas sub-basin, belonging to the Neartic region and influenced by Neotropical elements, is considered one of the most important of the state of Coahuila and its protection, conservation and restoration are considered a high priority for its great ecological and economical importance. The vegetation of the area is mainly represented by semiarid brushes and small oak communities and riparian vegetation. It supports endemic species such as Yucca coahuilenses. Among the endangered species supported are the Castor canadensis mexicanus, Erethizon dorsatum couesi, and the Ursus americanus eremicus. Its name comes from the great number of Montezuma Bald cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) found along the shores of the river. Ramsar site no. 1769. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Río San Pedro-Meoqui. 02/02/12; Chihuahua; 374 ha; 28°17'00"N 105°26'40"W. The site is a representative wetland of the Chihuahua desert, one of the richest and most diverse ecoregions in the world. It has a major hydrological influence on the climate regulation of the region, and as one of the few hydrological sources, most of the agricultural irrigation depends on it, especially during the long drought periods in the north of Mexico. Some bird populations also depend on the river during their migratory route. During winter, the site hosts large groups of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) and Great Egret (Ardea alba). Pollution and degradation of the river have been adversely affecting the site's ecological character, but the construction of a water treatment plant (by the end of 2012) and the environmental flow determination have been planned. Ramsar Site no. 2047. Most recent RIS information: 2012.
Santuario Playa Boca de Apiza - El Chupadero - El Tecuanillo. 02/02/08; Colima; 40 ha; 18o45'N 103o49'W. Natural coastal wetland with dominant thorn scrubs and low deciduous forest vegetation, and in the surroundings, coastal dunes, seagrass beds and mangroves. Three of the 7 species of marine turtles registered in Mexico hatch their eggs in these beaches: Lepidochelys olivacea, Dermochelys coriacea, and Chelonia agassizi. The Sanctuary provides a habitat for a number of resident and migratory, terrestrial and aquatic birds, many of which are threatened or endangered, such as the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana), the Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens), the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), the Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum), and the Agami Heron (Agamia agami). Agriculture, livestock, fishing and tourism are the most common activities in the site. Among the threats are the hunting of female turtles during their hatching period to obtain meat, eggs, oil, depredation of nests by wild and introduced species, and contamination of nest zones, among others. The site is listed under IUCN Management Categories: Ia (Strict Nature Reserve), Ib (Wilderness Area), IV (Habitat/Species Management Area) and VI (Managed Resource Protected Area). The Park has had a management plan since 2003. Ramsar site no. 1764. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Sian Ka'an. 27/11/03; Quintana Roo; 652,193 ha; 19º30'N 087º37'W. World Heritage Site, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Wildlife Protection Area. The site lies on a large karstic plain along a 120km-long barrier reef. Two large, shallow bays surrounded by mangroves, as well as numerous sinkholes or cenotes, are main landmarks in a landscape of tropical deciduous forests. Endemic communities of swamp forests and of petenes, emerging islands of forests protected from saline intrusions, are mostly pristine and of global significance. There is a wealth of flora and fauna, including 320 bird species and 5 Neotropical felines. Endangered species include Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles, American and Belize Crocodiles Crocodylus acutus and C. moreletii, Baird's Tapir Tapirus bairdii, Jaguar Panthera Onca, Puma Puma concolor, American Manatee Trichechus manatus and Sperm Whales Physeter catodon. Mayan archeological sites have been found in the Reserve. Several tree species are used for wood, and forest products such as thatch palm leaves and resin for chewing gum are extracted. The main problems are due to overfishing, increasing tourism, forest fires and invasive species. There is a management plan in place and several research activities have been undertaken. A community program training locals as tourist guides has started in order to manage tourism beneficially. Ramsar site no. 1329. Most recent RIS information: 2003.
Sistema de Humedales Remanentes del Delta del Río Colorado. 02/02/08; Baja California, Sonora; 127,614 ha; 32º19´N 115º16´W. Comprises the remnants of the Delta of the Colorado River (Ramsar site 814), of great importance as it represents an ideal habitat for many migratory and resident species in a desert area in northwestern Mexico. The wetlands form part of the Pacific Flyway of migratory waterfowl in their journey from Canada or the USA to the south of the continent, including species such as Dendroica coronata, Tachycineta bicolor, and Vermivora celata. Other bird species use it as reproduction and nesting grounds, such as Charadrius vociferans and Himantopus mexicanus. The wetlands present several values at a regional level, including the recharge of aquifers in a desert area and prevention of floods, among others. Agriculture is the main human activity in this area. Ramsar site no. 1822. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Sistema de Lagunas Interdunarias de la Ciudad de Veracruz. 02/02/05; Veracruz; 141 ha. 19º10'N 096º10'W. On the periphery of the city of Veracruz and within the city itself, 18 humid dune slacks comprise the site, the largest being Laguna Olmeca with 60 ha. These are rare geomorphologic features that have permanent water but depend entirely of rainfall recharging the aquifers. Communities of jointed flatsedge Cyperus articulatus, Frog fruit Phyla nodiflora, Cattail Typha latifolia, and Pontederia sagittata populate the site. Noteworthy fauna include Western grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis, Snowy Egret Egretta thula, American Coot Fulica americana, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis and Wood Stork Mycteria americana. Filling or dredging for land reclamation and urbanization are the biggest threats to the lagoons, and many have already disappeared, thus reducing the flood control services the slacks provide for the city. Low water quality is also a concern in most of the lagoons. Foot paths have been constructed along the shores and some restoration work has been carried out, dredging sediments in some of the water bodies. The municipality of Veracruz has recently taken over the management and restoration of the lagoon system. Ramsar site no. 1450. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Sistema de Represas y Corredores biológicos de la Cuenca Hidrográfica del Río de Necaxa. 02/02/08; Hidalgo, Puebla; 1,541 ha; 20º10’N 098º04’W. Natural Resources Protection Area. A site in central Mexico that is formed by five dams that are part of the Necaxa River Basin. This system acts as a corridor for aquatic and semiaquatic waterfowl such as Casmerodius albus, Egretta thula, Egretta caerulea, Phalacrocorax olivaceus, Ceryle torquita, Chloroceryleamericana, among others. It also supports endangered species such as Cyathea mexicana and Litobathes (Rana) pueblae. The main human uses consist of water storage for electric energy production, and at a minor scale forestry activities are practiced around the dams. The site is contained in the Natural Resources Protection Area “Zona Protectora Forestal Vedada Cuenca Hidrográfica del Río Necaxa”. Ramsar site no. 1796. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Sistema Estuarino Boca del Cielo. 02/02/08; Chiapas; 8,931 ha; 15°48'N 93°35'W. Marine Turtle Reserve. Coastal wetland with predominantly dune and coastal brush vegetation. The site is important for the spawning of three endangered turtle species: Lepidochelys olivacea, Dermochelys coriacea, and Chelonia agassizi. The marshes and channels are strongly influenced by mangrove vegetation, including Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa, Avicenia germinans and Conocarpus erecta. The system supports endangered and threatened species of migratory and resident birds, and commercial and subsistence fishing is practiced along the beaches. The main threats include the plundering of turtle nests, pollution of the spawning zones, the construction of infrastructure and tourist development, tropical depressions, thunderstorms, and hurricanes that lead to flooding. Environmental education and public awareness programs are developed through a project for the conservation and protection of marine turtles. Ramsar site no. 1770. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Sistema Estuarino Puerto Arista. 02/02/08; Chiapas; 62,138 ha; 16º00’N 093º53’W. An estuarine system and natural coastal wetland, the beaches of which are used as nesting grounds by the endangered marine turtles Lepidochelysolivacea, Dermochelyscoriacea and Cheloniaagassizi. The presence of juveniles of Eretmochelys imbricata bissa has also been registered in the site. The main flora species include Pithecellobium dulce, Coccoloba caracasana, Acanthocerus pentagonus,and Bursera excelsa, among others. In the estuarine zone, four mangrove species can be found (Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa, Avicennia germinans and Conocarpus erecta). The site is considered an Important Bird Area (IBA), and supports many resident and migratory waterfowl such as Recurvirostra americana, Tringa flavipes, Tringa melanoleuca,and Calidris minutilla. The main human activities are subsistence fishing, tourist activities, as well as furtive use of marine turtles that come to this area for nesting. Ramsar site no. 1823. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Sistema Lacustre Ejidos de Xochimilco y San Gregorio Atlapulco. 02/02/04; Distrito Federal; 2,657 ha; 19º17'N 099º04'W. Protected area; World Heritage Site. A remaining ecosystem of the Mexico valley surrounded by the urban growth of Mexico City, consisting of seasonal freshwater lakes feeding from groundwater deposits, the site maintains today the cultural traditions of chinampas (crops in the wetlands). Vegetation is mainly of cattail Typha latifolia, bulrush Schoenoplectus americanus, the invasive water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes, and trees such as Salix bonplandiana. The vulnerable Axolotl Salamander Ambystoma mexicanum inhabits the site, as well as other threatened or endemic species of reptiles, amphibians and birds. Water levels in the aquifers are being depleted, thus causing the terrain to sink and the soil to dry. Eutrophication, pollution, silting, salinization and invasive species are putting pressure on the site, not to mention the impacts of the surrounding urban environment. During weekends, thousands of tourist draw to the site for rides in typical boats (trajineras). A management plan is due to be ready in 2004. Ramsar site no. 1363. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Sistema Lagunar Agiabampo – Bacorehuis – Río Fuerte Antiguo. 02/02/08; Sonora; 90,804 ha; 26°10´N 109°14’W. An estuarine system in the coastal area with direct communication with the Gulf of California. It consists of five bodies of water, almost all linked to one another, sharing a single opening to the Gulf of California, as well as sharing two bays and many estuaries. In the water bodies there is no important freshwater supply except for the Agiabampo–Bacorehuis lagoon, which is important because it is surrounded, as are the estuaries, by Red mangrove (Rhizophoramangle), Black mangrove (Avicienniagerminans), White mangrove (Lagunculariaracemosa) and Buttonwood mangrove (Conocarpus erectus). Agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and tourism are economic activities that are practiced in the area and can have negative impacts on the site, posing a threat to the biodiversity of the area. The site is located in the migratory path of various species of birds, providing them food and protection; it is also an area of refuge, feeding and growth for aquatic species such as crustaceans, fish, mollusks and marine mammals. The resident and migratory birds are represented by 70 species, of which nine are endangered. Ramsar site no. 1797. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Sistema Lagunar Alvarado. 02/02/04; Veracruz; 267,010 ha; 18°39'N 095°51'W. A lagoon and estuarine complex comprising several coastal brackish lagoons, more than 100 interior lagoons and parts of the Papaloapan, Acula, Blanco and Limón rivers. The site features representative and diverse ecosystems of the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico, such as coastal dunes, reedbeds of Cyperus spp., cattail Typha spp., palm forests of Sabal mexicana, Scheelea liebmaniimAcrocomia mexicana, oak forests of Quercus oleoides; apompales (Pachira aquatica); and large mangrove forests. It is regarded as the most important site for the American Manatee Trichechus manatus in Veracruz. Silting, agricultural expansion, mangrove cutting and extensive cattle raising are threatening the site, as are increases in fish catch and the use of banned fishing nets. The area is highly regarded as of conservation priority and listed as an Important Bird Area. The Biological Research Institute of the Universidad Veracruzana has carried out several research activities in the area. Ramsar site no. 1355. Most recent RIS information: 2004.
Sistema Lagunar Ceuta. 02/02/08; Sinaloa; 1,497 ha; 24º02’N 107º04’W. Sanctuary. A system in northwestern Mexico formed by several lagoon complexes and marshes with an important extension of mangrove vegetation including Conocarpus erecta, Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa and Avicennia germinans. It is considered a Site of Regional Importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) in Mexico, supporting populations of Calidris mauri (20,000), Phalaropus tricolor (15,000), Recurvirostra americana (15,000), Charadrius alexandrinus (650), and Sterna maxima (2,500). Its beaches are used by the Leatherback turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) as a nesting ground. The main human activities in the site are fishing, aquaculture and agriculture. Ramsar site no. 1824. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Sistema Lagunar Estuarino Agua Dulce – El Ermitaño. 02/02/08; Jalisco; 1,281 ha; 20º00’N 105º30’W. A lagoon system of two water bodies considered to be the main coastal water body of Jalisco state: Agua Dulce Lagoon and El Ermitaño Estuary, interconnected by a channel constructed in the 1960s with floodgates that regulate the entrance from the estuary to the lagoon. Some 95 species of waterfowl have been reported in the site, of which 69 are migratory and 26 residents of this system and its surroundings, which play an important role for the reproduction, nesting, and feeding grounds for these species. This system is also home to specially protected species such as Heloderma horridum, Iguana iguana and Crocodylus acutus, as endangered, and Branta bernicla, Anas platyrhynchos and Nomonyx dominicus, as threatened. Three new species for the coast of Jalisco have been observed in the lagoon: Melanita perspicillata, Branta bernicla and Anas penelope. The main threats that negatively affect the system include the diversion of water for agricultural purposes, the use of agrochemicals in the surrounding crops, sewage water from rivers that supply the estuary, and deforestation. The main human activities are fishing and tourism. Ramsar site no. 1825. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Sistema Lagunar San Ignacio-Navachiste-Macapule. 02/02/08; Sinaloa; 79,873 ha.; 25°26’N 108°49´W. A coastal/lagoon system in the Gulf of California that is habitat for 21 endangered species and considered of great importance for maintaining biological diversity. 87 species of terrestrial and halophytic plants have been registered. The mangroves found in the site are Laguncularia racemosa, Avicennia germinans and Rizophoramangle. Among the noteworthy fauna found are the dolphin Tursiops truncatus, sea lion Zalophus californianus and three marine turtles (Chelonia agassizii, Eretmochelys imbricata and Lepidcochelys olivacea). It is considered an Important Bird Area (IBA), supporting nesting species such as Phalacrocorax olivaceus and Fregata magnifiscens and other species such as Ardea herodias herodias, Cathartes aura, Pandión haliaetus and Caracara cheriway. Traditional fishing and shrimp farming (species Litopenaeus stylirostris, L. vanamei, Farfantepenaeus californiensis and F. brevirostris) are the main activities undertaken in the site. Ramsar site no. 1826. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Sistema Ripario de la Cuenca y Estero de San José del Cabo. 02/02/08; Baja California Sur; 124,219 ha; 23º03’N 109º41’W. An ecosystem of great relevance for the region, from an hydrological as well as a biological perspective, as it supports a great number of unique flora species which constitute important corridors and refuges for wildlife. Among the flora species found in the riparian system are Washingtonia robusta and Erythea brandegeei endemic of Baja California; Populus brandegeei var glabra endemic of Sierra La Laguna, as well as Prunus serotina, Ilex brandegeana,Heteromeles arbutifolia y Salíx lasiolepis. One of the main characteristics of the site is the San José oasis and estuary, as it constitutes one of the greatest epicontinental environments of the Baja California Peninsula. The characteristic vegetation is formed by typical oasis species such as palms and aquatic species. It plays an important role for migratory species, as it is the last resting stop for aquatic bird species migrating to areas in the south of Mexico, Central America or South America. The estuary is an Important Bird Area (IBA) and a total of 217 species of waterfowl have been registered in the site, of which 97 are migratory. The biggest threat to the site is mainly due to a big tourist project in Puerto Los Cabos, only 800 meters away from the water bod – another is the introduction of invasive species such as the Tilapia (Cryptostegia grandiflora). Ramsar site no. 1827. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Zona Sujeta a Conservación Ecológica Cabildo-Amatal. 02/02/08; Chiapas; 2,832 ha; 14º46'N 092º28'W. Located in the coastal planes of the Pacific, the site is considered to be in a good conservation state. It provides shelter for a number of flora and fauna species, including the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), the Boa, Boa constrictor, the Royal Duck, Cairina moschat, the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus), the Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana), Snail Kite (Rosthramus sociabilis), Tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) and the Margen (Leopardus wiedii), as well as the Mangrove species Rhizophora mangle and Laguncularia racemosa. The main activities practiced in the site are agriculture, livestock and fishing. The main threats include the use of agrochemicals, deforestation, flora and fauna trafficking, furtive hunting, new human settlements, and open dumpsters. Many conservation activities such as mangrove restoration are carried out. Ramsar site no. 1771. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Zona Sujeta a Conservación Ecológica El Gancho -; Murillo. 02/02/08; Chiapas; 4,643 ha; 14º37’N 092º18’W. Located in the Physiographic Region of the Coastal Plains of the Pacific, this area has an extension of more than 280 km adjacent to the Pacific littoral, from the State of Oaxaca to Guatemala. It presents a compact surface of mangroves, cattails, palm forests, tropical deciduous forests and secondary vegetation areas in different stages of development. It is mainly composed by mangroves, with dominancy of red (Rhizophora mangle) and white (Laguncularia racemosa). Regarding fauna, the following species can be found: Felis pardales, Felis wiedii, Lepidochelys olivacea (categorized as endangered). The threatened species include Tamandua mexicana, Ardea herodias and Caiman crocodylus fuscus under special protection. The main land uses are agriculture, river fishing, and prawn capture, as well as livestock farming. Its beaches are a tourist attraction where sports fishing, swimming, boat rides and camping are the main activities. Ramsar site no. 1772. Most recent RIS information: 2008.
Zona Sujeta a Conservación Ecológica Sistema Lagunar Catazajá. 02/02/08; Chiapas; 41,059 ha; 17º39'N 091°43'W. System of lagoons located in the physiographic region of the southern Gulf of Mexico, characterized by smooth slopes and the presence of multiple lagoons and floodplains. The site is of great importance for the conservation of three endangered species in particular: the Manatee (Trichechus manatus), the Neotropical Otter (Lontra longicaudis), and the Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra). The main factors affecting this system include the rapid demographic growth, pollution, unstable socio-political situation in the area, tourism, agriculture and livestock. The site is under the IV IUCN Category (Habitat/Species Management Area) and is managed by the Natural History and Ecology Institute. Catazajá comes from a Mayan word meaning "valley covered in water". The Park has had a management plan since 2003. Ramsar site no. 1764. Most recent RIS information: 2008.