Ramsar Wetlands in the Carolinas

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlandsis an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.” 

The Convention is committed to designating sites that meet the criteria for identifying “Wetlands of International Importance” for the Ramsar List. These criteria include representative, rare, or unique wetland types and eight additional criteria reflect the Convention’s emphasis on conserving biological diversity, often through conservation of habitats that are important to waterfowl and other aquatic or semiaquatic plant and animal species[1]. Since the Convention was signed in 1975, 172 “Contracting Parties” (e.g., countries[2]) have identified over 2,400 Wetlands of International Importance[3] worldwide, covering more than 2.5 million square kilometers.

[1] https://ramsar.org/about/the-convention-on-wetlands-and-its-mission

[2] Contracting Parties are expected to manage their Ramsar Sites so as to maintain their ecological character and retain their essential functions and values for future generations.

[3] Ramsar wetland designation include lakes and rivers.

The Carolina Wetlands Association has submitted an application for Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge to be designated as a RAMSAR Wetland of International Significance. The application is currently under consideration

The Ramsar Convention also recognizes the importance of peatlands for climate change mitigation and has called upon countries “to minimize the degradation, as well as promote restoration, and improve management practices of those peatlands and other wetland types that are significant carbon stores, or have the ability to sequester carbon”.

There are currently two Ramsar Convention wetlands in the Carolinas, both in South Carolina, and a candidate (proposed) Ramsar site in North Carolina.  All three of these wetlands are recognized as Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas by the Carolina Wetland Association.  

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