Monday, March 2, 2009

CEDO Announces Protections for Critical Northern Gulf Wetlands


- By Alejandro Castillo, Subdirector, CEDO
Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.
Features: PINACATE CINDER CONES, DUNES, ADAIR BAY
Photo ID number: ISS009-E-5953


In coordination with World Wetands Day, which was February 2, CEDO (the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans) announced that Adairs Bay has been recognized as an Internationally Important Wetland under the Ramsar Convention.

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, known as the Ramsar Convention (more information can be found here: www.ramsar.org), is an international treaty signed by Mexico (and 157 other countries) that defines the actions and areas of cooperation for conservation, and sustainable use of wetlands and their resources. Mexico has one of the largest number of Ramsar designated wetlands with 121 sites covering more that 8 million hectares (almost 20 million acres).

Why Adairs Bay? The wetlands of the northern Gulf of California are hyper saline (saltier than seawater), have a high productivity, are part of the Pacific corridor for migratory birds, and serve as reproductive sites for shrimp, flounder and blue crab. CEDO and Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP)), nominated the Adairs Bay wetlands because these areas are indispensable to the economic health of this region - especially for fisheries and tourism. The designated areas include the esteros La Cholla, Cerro Prieto and Las Lisas as well as the salt marshes and artesian springs of the Upper Gulf of California Biosphere Reserve.

* Click here for a detailed map of Adairs Bay on CEDO's Website.

What does it mean to be a Ramsar wetland? Mexico, along with other countries, has committed to care for and use these wetlands responsibly. In these designated sites Mexico commits to: 1) inform the international community about any actual or potential changes to these wetlands and 2) plan for the rational use of these areas. A planning process is underway for Adairs Bay and we hope for the participation of the owners of adjacent lands to help define what actions will follow. Together we will work to build opportunities in conservation, research, restoration and sustainable development through eco-tourism and oyster culture.

For more information about this article, contact CEDO at 520-320-5473, or email Alejandro Castillo, alejandro@cedointercultural.org

Also visit the NaturArte Ecotourism Corridors' Webpage (www.cedonaturarte.org) to find all the information regarding tours, the NaturArte project, its members, the wetlands involved, and make reservations to join CEDO in the search of nature, adventure, culture and conservation.

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