How to Apply

The Ramsar Convention defines wetlands as "areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters."

Who Can Nominate a Site

Any individual, Native American tribe, nonprofits, institution of higher education, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, association, trust, unincorporated organization, or other legal entity (hereafter referred to as “persons”) may apply to designate a site as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar site) under the auspices of the Ramsar Convention.

If you are interested in applying for a wetland to be considered as a Ramsar Site, please download the instructions and use the template letter below.

An otter rests on a log. Credit: Ryan Grewell

Credit: Ryan Grewell

An image of two young women kayaking with the text: "Get Involved" Credit: USFWS

U.S. Ramsar Evaluation Model Timeline. 1. Initial Review: USFWS checks the application to be sure all required documents are included. 2. National-level Review: Interagency team reviews the proposed Ramsar site application and considers how it fits into the U.S. Ramsar framework. 3. USFWS Regional Assessment: The application is sent to the relevant USFWS Regional Office for state level coordination. 4. Ramsar Secretariat Review: The application is sent to the Ramsar Secretariat for analysis and review. The applicant may be asked for additional information. 5. Final Site Designation: The site is approved for final designation. The applicant may choose to work with affected stakeholders on outreach events.

 

Global Ramsar Criteria (Must Meet At Least One Criteria)

U.S. Ramsar Site Criteria

1. Contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.

U.S. Ramsar site criteria are currently in development. We encourage applicants to consider withholding applications until criteria are formalized. We anticipate releasing criteria by the end of 2017.

2. Supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.

 

3. Supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.

 

4. A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.

 

5. A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds.

 

6. A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.

 

7. A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity.

 

8. A wetland should be considered internationally important if it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.

 

9. A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland-dependent nonavian animal species.