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AUG. 5, 2022

We have four new urban wetlands in Chile! Find out about them and their importance to the ecosystem

The announcement of these new biodiversity protected sites located in the Coquimbo, Ñuble, Biobío and Los Lagos regions was published today in the Official Gazette. 

Good news for the environment keeps on coming. The announcement of four new urban wetlands in Chile was published this Friday in the Official Gazette. 

They are the Elqui River (in La Serena); La Cascada (in Coelemu); Nuco (in Frutillar); and Bayona del Valle (in San Pedro de la Paz), which between them allow us to protect an additional 500 hectares (1235 acres). 

This is excellent news, as it reaffirms our government’s commitment from day one to care for the environment. Urban wetlands are hugely important ecosystems for our cities, not only because they are green areas and spaces for recreation, but also because they help control floods and mitigate climate change. 

The new wetlands 

Elqui River Urban Wetland – Coquimbo Region 

Area: 492.8 hectares (1218 acres). This is the region’s first urban wetland, located in La Serena. It is an ecosystem of high endemism, richness and vertebrate species diversity (161 species), 139 of which are resident and migratory bird species. There are also species belonging to conservation categories, such as the black rail, which is classified as “near threatened” in the Coquimbo Region, and the snowy plover, classified as “vulnerable”. It is an important ecosystem culturally, socially and for tourism, as it provides cultural ecosystem services related to the development of environmental education and recreation activities for the community, and is connected to traditional practices associated with the Diaguita people. It is a coastal, estuarine, riparian and marshy wetland.  

Bayona del Valle Urban Wetland – Biobío Region 

Area: 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres). Located in the municipality of San Pedro de la Paz, the area is characterized by the presence of native amphibians like the four-eyed frog, the masked frog and the Chilean frog. The coypu stands out among the native fauna, and 30 species of bird that are typical of wetlands have been identified. These are birds that need this type of environment to complete their life cycle. Migratory birds such as the Chilean plover and the dark-faced ground tyrant have also been identified. 

La Cascada Urban Wetland – Ñuble Region 

Area: 0.6 hectares (1.5 acres). Located in the municipality of Coelemu. 

Nuco Urban Wetland – Los Lagos Region 

Area: 0.3 hectares (0.7 acres). Located in the municipality of Frutillar. 

Urban wetlands declared since March 11 

San Miguel (Ñuble)
Macaya (Valparaíso)
La Huinca Hill Dam (Valparaíso) 
Lo Godoy Estuary and Pejerreyes Estuary (Valparaíso)
Menoko Tromen (Araucanía)
Aconcagua River Mouth (Valparaíso) 
Waddington Canal in La Huinca Hill (Valparaíso)  
Salar del Carmen (Antofagasta)
Agua Salada Estuary Wetland (Valparaíso)
Curaquilla (Biobío)
Lluta River Mouth (Arica and Parinacota)
Gamboa (Los Lagos)
El Puangue Estuary (Metropolitana) 
Pichimapu (Biobío)
La Poza and Trancura Delta, Villarrica Lake (Araucanía) 
Elqui River (Coquimbo)
Bayona del Valle (Biobío) 
La Cascada (Ñuble)
Nuco (Los Lagos)