Honduras has designated the Santa Elena Wetland System (Sistema de Humedales de Santa Elena, Ramsar Site no. 2334) as its tenth Wetland of International Importance.
The Site is located at the eastern end of the island of Roatan in the north of the country. It includes a good example of a wooded wetland composed mainly of mangroves, and a marine wetland composed of seagrass beds and reef lagoons that are part of the Mesoamerican Reef System, the second longest barrier reef in the world.
The Site is an important resting, feeding and nesting area for several species of resident and migratory birds. The reef area and the seagrass also act as a nursery and feeding area for marine species such as sea turtles, dolphins and sharks that are frequently found here. Among the threatened species that inhabit the Site are the royal tern (Thalasseus maximus), the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the corals Acreopora cerviconis and Acropora palmata, among others.
Despite changes in land use and the disposal of waste, the Site is well conserved and its fisheries resources support local communities. The mangroves and seagrass beds serve as natural barriers against extreme weather events, and they also filter nutrients and some pollutants.