February 2, 2022 – Today we celebrate World Wetlands Day! This celebration was officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly on August 30, 2021 (Resolution 75/317), established for every February 2nd. This date also marks the anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, signed on February 2, 1971, in Ramsar, Iran.
Wetlands sustain a wide array of biodiversity. They provide spaces for the feeding, protection and reproduction (critical habitat) of a great variety of fish, birds, mammals and invertebrates. They also provide humanity with many ecological benefits (green & blue infrastructure) like:
- Flood control
- Pollution retention
- Cleaner water in associated coastal ecosystems
- Coastal protection
- Carbon sequestration
- Local climate regulation
- Leisure and recreation
- Research & educational opportunities
- Pest control
Wetlands cover approximately an 18% of all soil surface in the San Juan Bay Estuary Watershed.
Wetlands cover approximately an 18% of all soil surface in the San Juan Bay Estuary Watershed. One of the most important is Ciénaga Las Cucharillas, located in the municipality of Cataño, extending over 500 ha. Another important wetland is the Piñones State Forest, home to the largest mangrove forest in Puerto Rico at 3,040 ha., or 33% of all mangrove areas in the Island.
Urban sprawl throughout recent decades has led us to cover the soil with impervious surfaces (foundations, sidewalks and streets made of cement and asphalt), altering its hydrology and impeding their benefits. The rehabilitation and sustainable planning around these ecosystems will help us reclaim those benefits. The restoration of wetlands is also essential to mitigate the effects of Climate Change.