The Government of Uruguay has designated its 3rd Wetland of International Importance, Laguna de Rocha (Ramsar Site number 2236; 10,933 ha; 34°37'12"S 54°18'36"W), in the Department of Rocha.
The Ramsar Site is entirely within the Laguna de Rocha Protected Landscape. It is part of a complex of coastal wetlands on the Atlantic coast, linked to the Atlantic Ocean by a dynamic system of closing and opening sandbars, which contributes to the Site’s high productivity and biodiversity. It hosts 220 bird species, 29 species of amphibians, 40 species of reptiles, 46 species of fish, and 42 species of mammals, including emblematic species such as the capybara and the coypu. The Site plays an important role as part of the migratory route of several species and is an important nesting site of resident bird species, and it holds crustacean species of important commercial value such as the pink shrimp and the blue crab.
The main threats to the Site’s ecological character include alterations of the hydrological regime caused by artificial opening of the sandbars in order to stop flooding in adjacent areas or to favour local fishing practices, eutrophication caused by upstream organic effluents, and lack of urban planning.