La Segua becomes Ecuador's 5th Ramsar site
The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce that as of 7 June 2000, Ecuador has designated its fifth Wetland of International Importance. La Segua (1836 hectares) is a freshwater wetland located in the confluence of the rivers Carrizal and Chone, consisting of a central marsh that is flooded most of the time and an extensive plain that is inundated in the rainy season. Its soils are loam sandy, silt and/or clay-silt, deep with recent fine fluvial sediment deposits. The water is of medium quality, with presence of fecal coliforms and total solids, with a low percentage of dissolved oxygen. The wetland has a low diversity of organisms, but a high density of 12 species of fish, two species of river shrimp (Macrobrachium americanum and Macrobrachium tenellum), turtles of the genus Chelydra and 164 species of birds (22 migratory species and 63 aquatic ones). 27 families and 39 species of wild vegetation represent the flora. During the rainy season, the aquatic plants are dominant, especially "the lechuguines" (Eichhornia crassipes, water hyacinth); the depth of the marsh can reach an average of 1.27 m. During the dry season, the flooded plain is full of grasses and sedges and the water body is reduced to approximately 525 hectares, with an average depth of 67 cm. Four towns are located around the marsh with an estimated population of 1700 people, and the main land uses within the wetland are fishing, ranching and agriculture.
The site has a management plan developed by the Ministerio de Turismo y Ambiente with the support of the IUCN Oficina Regional para América del Sur, UNEP, and the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID).