Cerrón Grande Ramsar Site

With FIAES support, a study on the sustainable use of the cormorant duck and the water lily was conducted.

Declared a Ramsar Site on November 22, 2005, this is the largest body of water in El Salvador and home to numerous species of native and migratory birds. It is located in the departments of Chalatenango, San Salvador and Cuscatlán. It is also one of the most important wetland areas for energy production.


The wetland is made up of diverse islands, which are home to a significant bird population who use the islands for rest, nesting, and feeding. Different species of duck abound; one of the most representative is the cormorant duck, considered a threat to the wetland because of their proliferation.

Fifteen species of fish have been identified, of which twelve are native to El Salvador. Most utilized commercial species are sardines and catfish. The aquatic species with the greatest impact is the water hyacinth, which if uncontrolled, can affect fishing and navigation.

The aquatic species that has more impact is the Jacinto de Agua, which if not controlled can affect fishing and navigation.

Ecosystem services

This Ramsar Site contributes to groundwater recharge, fishery production, flood control, water purification, grazing land for cattle, land favorable for farming, production of electricity, and scenic beauty.


The most complex problem this area faces is the level of contamination introduced to the area. The reservoir is the site of a confluence of highly contaminated rivers, like the Acelhuate River. These rivers deposit solid wastes and organic materials from the nation’s capital in the wetlands, depleting oxygen levels. Additional threats to the wetland include increasing cormorant populations and the uncontrolled proliferation of water hyacinth. All these factors contribute to low water quality, which is even further affected during bloom of microalgaes in the dry season.


environmental projects funded


project implementing organizations


years of fundraising and resourcing for conservation

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