The Dominican Republic has named two new Wetlands of International Importance: “Humedales de Montecristi y la Línea Noroeste” and “Refugio de Vida Silvestre Laguna Redonda y Limón”. Together, these “Ramsar Sites” add 90,076 hectares to the country’s total designated area.
Humedales de Montecristi y la Línea Noroeste (no.2497 on the List of Wetlands of International Importance) is home to a large proportion of the most representative coral reefs in the Dominican Republic. The Site hosts threatened species such as the endangered Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas), and the critically endangered northern brook frog (Eleutherodactylus schmidti) and hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). The Site is also used as a refuge and nesting site for numerous seabirds (Anous stolidus, Onychoprion fuscatus, Thalasseus sandvicensis and Onychoprion anaethetus). Both the coral reefs and mangroves in the area support a local fishery that provides a livelihood for many of the local people.
Refugio de Vida Silvestre Laguna Redonda y Limón (Site no.2498) is composed of two main lagoons: the Redonda lagoon, with brackish waters and access to the sea, and the Limón lagoon, which has fresh water. The most representative ecosystems of both lagoons are mangroves such as red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), constricted mangrove (Avicennia germinans) and button mangrove (Conocarpus erectus). The Site hosts five species of amphibians endemic to the Dominican Republic and is a wintering site for migratory ducks, including the lesser scaup (Aythya affinis), ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris), ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), white-cheeked pintail (Anas bahamensis) and blue-winged teal (Anas discors). This Site boasts various cultural records of ancient Taino civilizations.