Dominican Republic designates coastal wetlands as Ramsar Site

Dominican Republic designates coastal wetlands as Ramsar Site

23 July 2014
Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has designated Humedales de Jaragua (32,979 ha; 17°43'47"N 71°32'0"W) as a wetland of international importance. The Site, as summarized by the Secretariat’s Sara Casallas based on the Ramsar Information Sheet, is made up of three sub-sites: Laguna de Oviedo, Bucán de Base – Canal Beata, and Pedernales Bucanye – Cabo Rojo – Bahía de las Águilas. It features different types of coastal wetland including permanent and temporary lagoons, vast mangrove forests, extensive sea grass beds and coral reefs.

It is rich in biodiversity and supports threatened or endangered species such as the coral Acropora palmata, the Antillean manatee Trichechus manatus manatus, and the birds Dendrocygna  arborea and  Corvus leucognaphalus. The Site also supports the only known populations of the endemic Jaragua pupfish (Cyprinodon nichollsi) and is of utmost importance for the four species of sea turtle that nest and forage in the area. It has one of the largest populations in the world of juvenile hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and also supports populations of Dermochelys coriacea, Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta.

The wetlands are also essential to the local economy which is based on artisan fishing, as they support species of high commercial value such as the lobster Panulirus argus and the queen conch Strombus gigas. The threats to the Site are associated with different economic activities; among these are the storage and transportation by land and sea of bauxite, the movement and anchoring of boats and the development of tourism in the area. Ramsar Site no. 2210. Most Recent RIS information: 2014