Let’s celebrate! The Lower Wisconsin Riverway was just designated a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention.
Ramsar is the oldest modern global environmental and intergovernmental agreement that provides a framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages our Ramsar work through our International Affairs Program.
The Riverway has one of Wisconsin’s highest concentrations of rare and threatened species, providing habitat for 121 rare animal species such as the wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) and the Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) with 17 species listed on the IUCN Red list including the chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica), the rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) and the ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata). It is also important for the federally endangered Higgins’ eye pearly mussel (Lampsilis higginsii), a species endemic to the upper Mississippi River and its tributaries.
Threatened plants include the pale green orchid (Platanthera flava herbiola) and algal-leaved pondweed (Potamogeton confervoides). The site is listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA), supporting 25 breeding bird species such as lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus), whooping crane (Grus americana) and worm-eating warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum).
The Riverway is one of Wisconsin’s most significant conservation and recreational areas because of its relatively wild, continuous natural area with a wide variety of native plant-animal communities.
News Release: https://www.ramsar.org/news/united-states-names-lower-wisconsin-riverway-as-its-41st-wetland-of-international-importance
Additional information from Wisconsin Wetlands Association: https://www.wisconsinwetlands.org/updates/wisconsin-river-honored/
Photo credit: Timothy Jacobson