American Wetlands Month External Affairs



Essential Habitats


National Wetlands Inventory

The Ramsar Convention

  RAMSAR logo: Conservation on Wetlands. 50 years.
  Ramsar at 50. Credit: Ramsar

Turning 50 this year, the Convention on Wetlands is the oldest of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements. The treaty was negotiated through the 1960s by countries and non - governmental organizations concerned about the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitat for migratory waterbirds. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. 

The first Ramsar sites in the United States were established in 1986 and today there are 41 designated Ramsar sites of international importance. Twenty-three of these include all or parts of U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Wildlife Refuges. In total, there are more than 2,400 Ramsar sites around the world representing an area larger than the size of Mexico. 

Aerial view of RAMSAR. Credit: iStock  
Aerial view of wetland. Credit: iStock  




Take a virtual tour of Ramsar sites in the U.S.






Follow us throughout the month for Ramar site highlights each week!

Sunset at Semrad Slough. Credit: Timothy Jacobson  
Sunset at Semrad Slough. Credit: Timothy Jacobson  




Week 1Celebrating Wetlands in Wisconsin.

With six Ramsar sites, Wisconsin is one of our most active states in terms of designating sites. The state has lost half of its wetlands in the past 200 years, making those that remain even more important. Learn how the Wisconsin Wetlands Association is working to raise the visibility of these wetlands by illustrating their diversity and significance..






Sunset at Semrad Slough. Credit: Timothy Jacobson  
Elkhorn Slough, USFWS  



Week 2 - Learn about NOAA-managed Ramsar sites and how they are celebrating the 50th Anniversary!

Discover Ramsar designated Elkhorn Slough! Friday, May 14 at 5:30 pm PT

Elkhorn Slough FacebookLive: A Year in the Life: Shorebird Survival and Success in A California Estuary





Sunset at Semrad Slough. Credit: Timothy Jacobson  
Corkscrew, RJ Wiley  

Week 3 - Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary protects 13,450 acres of wetlands and other habitats in the heart of the Western Everglades. Through a series of short video clips, Sanctuary staff will explain the services these protected acres provide to surrounding communities, the importance of these habitats for listed species, and how visitors and students can explore and learn about the oldest remaining, old-growth bald cypress forest in Florida.

Video Series:

Wetlands Protect Communities: Shawn Clem, PhD, Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Director of Research, explains some of the reasons why wetlands are important.
Watch Video

Protecting Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary: Marshall Olson, Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Director of Conservation, explains the history of the Sanctuary and how Audubon works to protect this important habitat for wildlife and people.
Watch Video

Wetlands are for Wildlife and People:  Lisa Korte, PhD, Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Director, explains some of the ways people explore and enjoy wetlands at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
Watch Video


Sunset at Semrad Slough. Credit: Timothy Jacobson  
Flame Skimmer, USFWS  



Week 4Learn about the first four U.S. Ramsar sites, dedicated on December 18, 1986 (all National Wildlife Refuges) and what makes them worthy of international recognition!