Ballona Institute in Playa del Rey is among ten organizations nationwide that will receive grant funding from the United States Ramsar Committee for the “Promotion of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.”

Ballona Institute, an organization that works on research and restoration of the greater Ballona Wetlands ecosystem, is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Ramsar Committee.

The committee includes wetland-focused organizations and government agencies described as tasked with identifying and supporting the designation of critical wetland sites, promoting the wise use of wetlands and educating about the importance of wetlands.

The grants are funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders Global Programs and were awarded in celebration of World Wetlands Day Saturday, February 2nd, an event marked worldwide to educate the public about the importance of preserving wetlands.

The grant to Ballona Institute is being awarded to finalize a nomination package for designation as “Wetlands of International Importance” of a complex of coastal wetlands in Southern California which include Ballona, Bolsa Chica, Los Cerritos, Upper Newport Bay, Malibu Lagoon and San Elijo Lagoon.

The designation will mark the importance of these coastal wetlands in terms of migratory bird stopovers, nesting areas, as well as other wildlife and ecological benefits, according to Ballona Institute. Officials at Ballona Institute say they will work over the next year to finalize the nomination package for submittal to the appropriate federal and international bodies which will make the final determination.

Ballona Institute celebrated World Wetlands Day by opening its nonprofit Shallow Water Nature Store and Corner Library, which is on the edge of the Ballona Wetlands in the Matilla Village Center in Playa del Rey.

The event included a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony with Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and California Assemblyman Ted Lieu.