The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 4 April 2005

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USA designates Hawaiian site for WWD 2005.The Government of the USA designated three new Wetlands of International Importance in celebration of World Wetlands Day 2005, two of which have been reported earlier, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) and Grassland Ecological Area, both in the state of California. A third designation is now ready to be added to the Ramsar List, Kawainui and Hamakua Marsh Complex (414 hectares, 21°24'N 157°45'W). Sacred to Hawaiians, Kawainui Marsh, the largest remaining emergent wetland in Hawaii and Hawaii's largest ancient freshwater fishpond, is located in what was once the center of a caldera of the Koolau shield volcano. The marsh provides primary habitat for four of Hawaii's endemic and endangered waterbirds, including Laysan Duck and Hawaiian Goose or Nene, and contains archaeological and cultural resources, including ancient walled taro water gardens (lo'i) where fish were also cultivated. Kawainui Marsh stores surface water, providing flood protection for adjacent Kailua town, one of the largest towns on the windward side of O'ahu. Hamakua Marsh is a smaller wetland historically connected to and immediately downstream of Kawainui Marsh, which also provides significant habitat for several of Hawaii's endemic and endangered waterbirds. Here is a map and some photos, and an extract from the Ramsar Information Sheet on the cultural values of the new site. [04/04/05]

Argentina names urban wetland for the Ramsar List. The Secretariat is pleased to report that, effective as of World Water Day, 22 March 2005, the Government of Argentina has designated the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur (353 hectares, 34º37'S 058º21'W). Declared a Natural Park and Ecological Reserve in 1986, the site is located in the east of Buenos Aires, the most populated city in Argentina. The site sustains a large population of Cygnus melancorphus swans and other waterfowl. In total, 250 species of birds, nine of amphibians, 23 of reptiles, 10 of mammals and 50 of butterflies have been identified in the area. Plant varieties also include 245 species from 55 families. Most of these species are highly representative of the biological diversity occurring in the region. Here are a few illustrations. [01/04/05]

Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur.22/03/2005; Buenos Aires; 353 ha; 34º37'S 058º21'W. Declarada Parque Natural y Zona de Reserva Ecológica en 1986, Costanera Sur esta localizada en el extremo este de Buenos Aires, ciudad mas populosa de Argentina. El sitio es hábitat de al menos 250 especies de aves, incluyendo a una población considerable de cisnes de cuello negro (Cygnus melancorphus). Otras variedades presentes en la zona incluyen a 9 especies de anfibios, 23 de reptiles, 10 de mamíferos y 50 de mariposas. Las variedades de flora también incluyen a 245 especies de 55 familias. La mayoría de estas especies son altamente representativas de la diversidad biológica presente en la región.

UK designates three offshore Ramsar sites in the Channel Islands. The United Kingdom's Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (defra) has informed the Secretariat of its designation of three new Ramsar sites effective World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2005, all of them reef and shoal systems off-shore from the Channel Island of Jersey. With huge tidal ranges in the area of the Golfe de St-Malo along the northwestern coast of France, all three sites present an array of reef and intertidal habitat types. Les Écréhous & Les Dirouilles, Jersey (5,459 hectares, 49°18'N 001°58'W) consists of two reefs which form an extensive shoal area on the east of Jersey. Les Minquiers, Jersey (9,575 ha, 48°58'N 002°07'W) is an extensive shoal area lying 34 kilometres due south from Saint Helier on Jersey. Les Pierres de Lecq (the Paternosters), Jersey (512 ha, 49°18'N 002°12'W) is an extensive reef uncovered at low tide, lying off the northwest coast of Jersey. The UK now has 162 Wetlands of International Importance, nearly 100 more than Australia with 64. Our new colleague, Assistant Advisor for Europe Dorothea August, has prepared these brief illustrated site descriptions based upon the Ramsar Information Sheets submitted with the designations. [31/03/05]

The Republic of Korea names island peatlands. The Secretariat is very pleased to announce that the Republic of Korea has designated a beautiful island peatland area as its third Wetland of International Importance, effective 30 March 2005. Jangdo Island High Moor in Chollanam-do province (34°41'N 125°23'E) is one of 1,596 islands that are part of the Tadohae-Haesang National Park. Ramsar's Shahzia Khan describes the new site, based on information provided by the Administrative Authority, as a pristine mountainous wetland (230-267m asl) that is the largest high moor associated with the Korean Peninsula, surrounded by beautiful marine landscapes with five major areas of high moor, mountainous area, small streams, transferred zone and residential area. The high moor contains thick layers of peat (depth 70 cm- 80 cm) on clay beds, which make it the largest source of high quality freshwater in the island critical for the surviving species of 294 plants, 146 of insects, 5 of amphibians and reptiles, 44 of birds. Human settlements lie around the lower ridges of the high moor. It provides a habitat for national Natural Monuments and IUCN Red-listed species like Falco peregrinus, the otter Lutra lutra, the orchid Dendrobium minutiflorum, Hobbseus cristatus, and Marsdenia robusta. Nearly 50% of the wetland is forested peatlands dominated by Machilus thunbergii, Salix spp. and Camellia japonica. Prior to designation as a National Wetland Conservation Area in 2004, the main land use involved grazing -- currently, all activities are strictly prohibited for protection. The site was recently proposed for ecotourism with plans for awareness raising, bird observation and site patrolling. The jurisdiction is under the South Cholla Province and managed by the Nature Environment Division, Environment Bureau of Yeongsang River Basin Environment Office. Ramsar Site No. 1458. Photos and map here. [31/03/05]

Draft agreed of High Andean strategy. In furtherance of Ramsar Resolution VIII.39 “High Andean wetlands as strategic ecosystems” and with the support of several partners such as Danone-Evian, Minera Escondida, and others, members of the Contact Group (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, BirdLife, IUCN, WI, WWF, the International Working Group on Páramos (Grupo Páramo), and the Ramsar Secretariat) met in Salta, Argentina, 13-17 February to finalise a draft joint strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of High Andean ecosystems, and its action plan. The group made considerable progress and the strategy and action plan are being circulated for comments at the national level. The 56-page report of the meeting is available here in Spanish (PDF). [29/03/05]

En cumplimiento con la Resolución VIII.39 “Los humedales altoandinos como ecosistemas estratégicos”, con el apoyo de varios socios tales como Danone-Evian, Minera Escondida y otros, los miembros del Grupo de Contacto (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Perú y Venezuela, BirdLife, IUCN, WI, WWF, el Grupo Internacional de Trabajo en Páramos (Grupo Páramo) y el Grupo para la Conservación de Flamencos Alto-andinos (GCFA), y la Secretaría de Ramsar) se reunieron en Salta, Argentina del 13 al 17 de febrero de 2005 para finalizar el borrador de la estrategia conjunta para la conservación y uso sostenible de los ecosistemas altoandinos, y su Plan de Acción. El Grupo hizo importantes avances y el la estrategia y el plan de acción están siendo circulados en los países para comentarios. El informe esta disponible aquí.

Ramsar Regional Center launched in Iran. "Together with best wishes for you in Persian New Solar Calendar Year 1384 , I am pleased to announce the establishment of the "Ramsar Regional Center for Central and West Asia" in Ramsar city, Iran.For more information about the "Center" please visit: Highest Regards, Abdolhamid Amirebrahimi, Interim Secretary, RRC-CWA, Ramsar, Iran." [27/03/05]

Jamaica names second Ramsar site.The Secretariat is very pleased to announce that Jamaica has designated its second Wetland of International Importance -- Palisadoes - Port Royal (7,523 hectares, 17º55'N 076º49'W) has been added to the Ramsar List with an effective date, at the request of the National Environment and Planning Agency, of Earth Day, 22 April 2005. According to Adrián Ruiz-Carvajal, Ramsar Assistant Advisor for the Americas, based on data supplied with the Ramsar Information Sheet or RIS, the new Ramsar site is located on the southeastern coast just offshore from the capital Kingston, and it features cays, shoals, mangrove lagoons, mangrove islands, coral reefs, seagrass beds and shallow water, thus hosting a variety of underrepresented wetland types. Endangered and vulnerable species occurring in the area include American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) and bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). To date 26 endemic new species have been discovered in the area. Historic and cultural values are very high, as the site includes forts on the dunes and part of the city of Port Royal, said to have been the largest city in the Americas, which sank in an earthquake in 1692 and is now a unique archaeological treasure. A management plan is in place, and the University of the West Indies operates research facilities. [27/03/05]

Report of the Standing Committee Subgroup meetings. The SC Subgroups on COP9 and on Finance met at the Secretariat facilities in Switzerland during the week of 7-10 March and continued their preparations for the next full meeting of the Standing Committee, SC31, set for June 2005. The full report of the Subgroup on COP9 is now ready, with lists of the participants and their contacts. As is the Ramsar tradition, the Report can be seen only in English, but the Decisions of the meeting will soon be available in English, French, and Spanish. There is no full report of the Subgroup on Finance's meeting, but its decisions are appended to the COP9 Subgroup's report. Click here to view the report in HTML or PDF. [18/03/05]

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