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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP) - The San Francisco Bay estuary has been added to a list of protected wetlands under a 1971 international treaty among 163 countries meant to limit damaging development along ecologically important waterways.
Ramsar Convention officials on Friday announced the U.S. government had added the bay as the nation's 35th "wetland of importance" under the treaty.
The designation means the country is committed to not promoting projects that alter designated ecosystems.
The San Francisco Bay estuary is the largest on the U.S. Pacific coast, and comprises 77-percent of California's remaining wetland areas. It is home to more than 1,000 animal species.
Melissa Pitkin, spokeswoman for PRBO Conservation Science, said decades of research informed this designation, and while it doesn't come with new regulations, it helps bolster local conservation efforts through international pressure.