Mexico designates a new Ramsar Site in the State of Chihuahua

Mexico designates a new Ramsar Site in the State of Chihuahua

16 April 2014
Mexico

Mexico has designated as a Wetland of International Importance the Manantiales Geotermales de Julimes in Chihuahua State (368 ha; 28°24’46’’N 105°25’48’’W). The site, as summarized by Ramsar Assistant Advisor for the Americas Ms. Sara Casallas,  is made up of a group of geothermal springs in the Chihuahuan desert. Its topography and hydrology determine how the hydrothermal aquifer system is recharged and also the characteristics of these unique ecosystems and the organisms which have adapted to the extreme conditions which they present. Some of these organisms are endemic to the area, such as the pupfish Cyprinodon julimes, the isopod Thermosphaeroma macrura and the gastropod Tryonia julimensis. These species are all endangered and their whole life cycle takes place within these wetlands. The entire known habitat of the pupfish has been reduced to a small canal. The site is also a Grassland Priority Conservation Area, as it acts as a resting and feeding area for migratory birds travelling over the desert areas of Chihuahua State, which have very few water bodies especially during the dry season.

The threats to the Site are associated with local activities, including the extraction of water via a system of canals, for agricultural, recreational and therapeutic uses. The search for new springs and the subsequent construction of canals to transport the water also threaten the site, as does pollution from urban and agricultural discharge.