U.S. National Ramsar Committee meets at Caddo Lake

U.S. National Ramsar Committee meets at Caddo Lake

13 December 2007

Inaugural U.S. Ramsar site managers meeting and U.S. National Ramsar Committee meeting held at Caddo Lake, Texas

Members of the U.S. National Ramsar Committee (USNRC), Ramsar site managers and representatives from ten U.S. Ramsar sites, and other Ramsar supporters met at Caddo Lake from October 31 to November 2, 2007, to share experiences, discuss collaborative opportunities, and consider how Ramsar might be strengthened in the United States.

Royal C. Gardner and Kim Diana Connolly reported on the results of their survey on the benefits of Ramsar designation, which was followed by reports from U.S. Ramsar site representatives. The group then discussed the USNRC Small Grants Program, approaches to common Ramsar signage, promotion of World Wetlands Day and CEPA issues, as well as the benefit of using the Ramsar designation in funding applications. María Rivera, Ramsar Senior Advisor for the Americas, called attention to the strength and experiences of the National Ramsar Committee and site managers in terms of research, CEPA activities and management of sites as well as in the designation of new Ramsar sites. Rosa Montañez of the Regional Ramsar Centre for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere (CREHO) attended and offered advice on international opportunities. Proponents of candidate sites also made presentations on sites that are in the process of applying for Ramsar designation.

Richard Lowerre (left), President of the Caddo Lake Institute, and Royal Gardner, Chair of the US National Ramsar Committee

Marina Ratchford, Chief, Latin America & the Caribbean Branch, Division of International Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Participants toured Caddo Lake and the adjacent National Wildlife Refuge and enjoyed the hospitality of residents of Uncertain, Texas. The event was made possible by the generous financial and organizational support of the Caddo Lake Institute.

Caddo Lake drainage area is approximately 2,800 square miles (7,250 Km2). Located in the Mississippi flyway, Caddo Lake's wetlands provide important habitat for wintering migratory waterfowl and neotropical birds which winter in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Caddo Lake is one of the best examples in the southern United States of a mature Bald Cypress community. The wetlands contain a rich biodiversity of plants and animals, including species that are rare, endangered or of special concern to state and federal governments and the conservation community generally.

(Photos: María Rivera)