International Wetlands Program

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Without Borders program serves as the administrative authority for the International Wetlands Convention in the United States.  The United States signed onto the Ramsar Convention in 1987 and currently recognizes 30 Ramsar sites.  Ramsar sites within the CSWGCIN region include:

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (GA & FL),

Everglades National Park (FL),

Cache-Lower White Rivers Joint Venture Area (AR),

Catahoula Lake (LA)

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (FL)

Caddo Lake (TX), and 

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (FL).

Visit the International Wetlands Program site for information on World Wetlands Day, how to nominate a site for the Ramsar designation of "Wetlands of International Importance," and links on wetlands sites and management.  

For more information:

Visit the links below to check out coastal zone projects developed by CSWGCIN and its partners.

Bays and Estuaries
Gulf Coast Seagrass
Louisiana Coastal Wetlands
Wetland Delineation and LIDAR
Invasive Species
Water Resources in Urban Ecosystems
Galveston Bay
Focus on Hurricanes: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for NWRC and USGS hurricane information.

Wetlands & Coastal Issues

Why is the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Region special?

The Gulf of Mexico coastal region is a unique area where the land meets the sea. The Gulf Coast is home to a number of habitats including but not limited to riparian forests, coastal prairies, salt marshes, seagrass beds, and mangroves. The diversity of habitats allows for an abundance of wildlife including migratory birds and numerous species of fish, shellfish, mammals, and reptiles. Some species of special significance found in the region are protected by state and federal regulations and international treaties. Others are valued for their commercial or recreational uses or the joy that they bring to coastal residents and visitors that view them in their natural environment. All rely upon balanced and productive ecosystems for their continued well-being.

What are the issues?

As is often the case when fragile ecosystems and wildlife communities reside alongside areas of human development, a number of stressors exist. The degree to which a stressor impacts a natural resource determines whether or not that stressor is recognized as a coastal issue. Every person, or stakeholder, living and working in the coastal zone has a different opinion regarding an issue's scope and importance. However, a number of issues are generally recognized along the Gulf Coast:

  • Development and habitat loss
  • Water quality degradation and hypoxia
  • Declining trends in wildlife populations
  • Seafood safety
  • Fisheries harvest
  • Freshwater inflows
  • Coastal erosion and subsidence
  • Bays and estuaries
  • Gulf Coast seagrass
  • Louisiana coastal wetlands
  • Wetland delineation and LIDAR
  • Invasive species
  • Water resources in urban ecosystems
  • Galveston Bay
  • Hurricane information

Gulf Coast Wetlands Resources
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Collapse100+ Years of Land Change for Coastal Louisiana
Description: 100+ Years of Land Change for Coastal Louisiana is a map depicting the coastal land change for Louisiana for the last 100+ years.
Resource Type: Federal Government Agencies (U.S.), Issue Overviews
Resource Format: URL
Publisher: Unites States Geological Survey; National Wetlands Research Center
ExpandAbstracts from 'Coastal Marsh Dieback in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Extent, Causes, Consequences, and Remedies'
ExpandActive Geological Faults and Land Change in Southeastern Louisiana
ExpandAmerica's Wetland Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana
ExpandBreaux Act Newsflash - Gulf of Mexico Alliance Announcement
ExpandCan Southern Louisiana Be Saved?
ExpandCenter for Coastal Studies
ExpandCenters for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence - Central Gulf of Mexico
ExpandCentral Southwest Gulf Coast Information Node of the National Biological Information Infrastructure
ExpandCoast 2050 Revised Strategies
ExpandCoastal Louisiana Habitat Data - 1988
ExpandCoastal Wetlands: Lessons Learned from Past Efforts in Louisiana Could Help Guide Future Restoration and Protection
ExpandConfronting Climate Change in the Gulf Coast Region: Prospects for Sustaining Our Ecological Heritage
ExpandEducator and Student Resources on Wetlands and Environmental Protection
ExpandEnvironmental Impacts of Hurricane Katrina
ExpandFactoids about Louisiana's Coastal Wetlands
ExpandGalveston Bay Project: Wetlands and Subsidence
ExpandGulf Coast Ecological Heritage at Risk: Resources & Links - Florida
ExpandGulf Coast Ecological Heritage at Risk: Resources & Links - Louisiana
ExpandGulf Coast Ecological Heritage at Risk: Resources & Links - Mississippi

Texas Coastal Fisheries Mapping Application and Data Download

Texas Coastal Fisheries Mapping Application and Data Download

The Texas Coastal Fisheries Mapping Application and Data Download gives the user access to over 30 years of fisheries data from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Galveston Bay Invasive Species Risk Assessment Project

Galveston Bay Estuary Program Logo

The Galveston Bay Invasive Species Assessment project accumulates and assesses existing information on the identity, characteristics, and impacts of exotic species invading ecosystems in the lower Galveston Bay watershed. The project's main objectives are to increase public awareness of the impacts of invasive species and provide information to resource managers working on the development of effective management strategies.

Visit the Galveston Bay Invasive Species Risk Assessment website to view and download the final report.

The Galveston Bay Invasive Species Assessment project is funded by the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, a program of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The Environmental Institute of Houston, an education, outreach, and research organization affiliated with the University of Houston-Clear Lake, is also a major partner in the effort.

The NBII Program is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey
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