On November 20th, 2013 the Missisquoi Delta and Bay Wetlands were officially designated “Wetlands of International Importance” by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (RCW).
The RCW was adopted in the Iranian City of Ramsar on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea in 1971. The purpose of the Convention as an intergovernmental treaty is to provide a “framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.” The treaty is singular in its mission to protect and recognize a particular ecosystem – wetlands.
The recognition of the Missisquoi Delta and Bay wetlands is a worthy accolade to the State of Vermont and the functions and values that the wetland provides both the United States and Canada. As part of the northern flyway the wetlands also provide benefits to migrating waterfowl that travel outside of North America.
Alan Quackenbush, the Vermont Wetlands Program Manager, who wrote a letter in support of the designation explains, “The designation really puts the spotlight on one of Vermont’s most significant wetland complexes. This will help with continued conservation of the wetlands; and will provide an educational opportunity for the public to experience both unique wetlands such as Maquam Bog and Vermont’s best examples other wetland communities, such as the silver maple flood plain forests along the Missisquoi River. Thanks to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for making the nomination and collecting the documentation for the designation.”
Sites are evaluated on two groups of criteria: They should (1) contain representative, rare or unique wetlands types and (2) be deemed internationally important for conserving biological diversity.
To learn about how the Missisquoi Delta and Bay wetlands measure up based on the criteria visit the blog “Exploring Vermont’s Wetlands: The Missisquoi Delta”.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be submitting an official press release with a formal announcement and celebration of the designation to follow for International Migratory Bird Day in May at the Missisquoi National Wildlife refuge.
* The addition of the Missisquoi Delta and Bay wetlands brings the United States’ designated site count up to 36.