Spain Designates 74th Ramsar Site
19 August 2012: The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) has reported that the Government of Spain has designated Lagunas de Ruidera as its 74th Wetland of International Importance.
The site is located in the Castilla-La Mancha region, and is a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve. According to Ramsar, it consists of a 25-kilometer long chain of natural dams, creating a lagoon complex interconnected by waterfalls and karst formations. It hosts many globally threatened species, as well as numerous fish and bird species. The site is critical for the functioning of the regional hydrological system, serves as an important water reservoir, and is of archaeological and historic significance. Activities carried out on the site, which is threatened by unsustainable tourism development, include traditional agriculture, research and recreational activities.
Spain's designation contributes to one of the goals contained in the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan for 2009-2015, which is to reach a protected area of 250 million hectares by 2015. [Ramsar Press Release]