The Laguna de Santa Rosa, a 16-mile waterway from the Russian River to Cotati, will be designated as a wetlands of international importance next month.

The recognition is by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is the result of a four-year process to get the application approved, said Hattie Brown, conservation manager for the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation.

"It is a recognition of wetlands on the ecosystems they provide, for groundwater recharge, to dampen storm surges, for all kinds of habitat, for human recreation ... the list is long for why wetlands are important," Brown said.

The Ramsar Convention was held 40 years ago in Ramsar, Iran, and resulted in a treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and use of wetlands.

The Laguna de Santa Rosa will receive the designation on Feb. 2, which is celebrated as wetlands day by the Ramsar Convention.

It will be one of 27 such wetlands in the United States and 1,904 worldwide with the designation.

Brown said the foundation hopes the designation will help promote eco-tourism and help in getting environmental grants.

"The important thing is it puts us on the map in an international context," Brown said.

Brown said the laguna, which encompasses wetlands of 3,895 acres, is home to the endangered Tiger salamander and Sebastopol Meadowfoam, Burke's Gold Field and Sonoma Sunshine wildflowers.

Brown said the application was supported by 16 landowners, which includes the cities of Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, the state Department of Fish and Game, the Sonoma County Water District and the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District and 11 private landowners.