Chile designates privately-owned coastal lagoon

Chile designates privately-owned coastal lagoon

20 February 2004
Chile

The Ramsar Secretariat is delighted to announce that Chile has named its 8th wetland to the List of Wetlands of International Importance, effective 2 February 2004. As described by Iván Dario Valencia from data received in the Ramsar Information Sheet, Santuario de la Naturaleza Laguna Conchalí (34 hectares, 31º53'S 071º30'W) is a Nature Sanctuary and Private Reserve in Región IV, a brackish coastal lagoon representative of wetlands in central Chile, where the wildlife of the Atacama-Sechura Desert and Chilean Matorral ecoregions meet, and a key staging area for migratory birds along the central Chilean coast. A creek feeds freshwater to the lagoon, and during periods of high rainfall, the barrier island is flooded and the lagoon becomes an estuary. Saltmarshes are mainly composed of coastal salt grass (Distichlis spicata), alkali seaheath (Frankenia salina), and Sarcocornia peruviana. There are coastal dunes, coastal shrub-steppe vegetation, and coastal Mediterranean shrub, the latter of high conservation priority. The Coscoroba Swan Coscoroba coscoroba, White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi, endemic Chilean Mockingbird Mimus thenca, and Tropidurid lizard Liolaemus zapallarensis are noteworthy species of the site. Five endemic fish species are found, including Odontesthes brevianalis and Mugil sp. The Pelambres copper mining company purchased the area in 1997, and the site was cleaned, fenced and is undergoing a restoration process. Footpaths, observatories and information panels have been placed to attract ecotourism and carry out environmental education. The mining port nearby has a contingency plan in place to avoid impacts on the site and there are no major threats currently affecting the area. The University of Chile is carrying out a monitoring and management plan. This is Ramsar Site no. 1374.

Educational activities on World Wetlands Day 2002