The city of Río Gallegos, located on the coast of the name-sake estuary, features large marshes and muddy intertidal plains, used by several species of migratory priority shorebirds protected in several countries along its routes. Among them, Red knot (Calidris canutus), red-necked stint (Calidris ruficollis) and Hudsonian godwit (Limosa haemastica).
The strategic importance for the city’s wetlands implies that special attention must be paid to conservation, since they are used by large groups of highly endangered species in the global bird population, such as Red knot (Calidris canutus) (around 10%) and endemic species Magellanic plover (Pluvianellus socialis), nearly 20%. The biological importance of Río Gallegos’ wetlands led, in October 2005, to its grading as Site of International Importance within the Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN).
Provincial and city governments have decreed the creation of two protected areas on the southern margin of the estuary: the Provincial Reserve for Migratory Shorebirds and the Rio Gallegos Urban Coastal Reserve.
Also, after an intense and innovative process of participation without precedents in Río Gallegos, the Ordinance # 6762 was passed in the second half of 2009. This created the city’s Urban Nature Reserves System, that includes its Urban Coastal Reserve and a series of wetlands and natural areas that also provide important environmental services to the community.
During the last few years, Ambiente Sur also set several projects intended for the conservation of shorebirds. Among them, social marketing and environmental awareness strategies such as:
Social Marketing Strategies and Environmental Sensitization:
"Gallegos River Estuary" Pride Campaign
"Gallegos River Estuary" Environmental Interpretation Center
Environmental theatrical play "The Estuary needs us"
Support for Urban nature reserves management of in Río Gallegos and Río Grande
Support for Provincial Reserve Migratory Birds management