Panama has given protected wetland status to 5 regions in the country. The wetlands in the Panama Bay area are now considered protected natural zones. The wetlands play an essential role in protecting biodiversity and regulating the climate. The site is recognised as an important stopping point for migrant shorebirds. Up to 360,000 individual birds were sighted in one season and it is estimated that between 1 and 2 million birds stop off there during migration. The natural zone is also a habitat for protected species like ant-eaters, Baird's tapirs, and loggerhead sea turtles.
Primitive mangrove forests in the zone also prevent damage from erosion, storms, and hurricanes. Panama has already lost 75% of its mangrove forests and can’t afford to lose any more.
Fishing and agriculture are the main human activities in the region, but because of its close proximity to Panama City, pressure from urban development is growing, as is pollution, due to the release of wastewater into the sea. Lots of research on shorebirds has been carried out in the area and it was recently declared a zone of importance for bird conservation.
In 2017, the Department of Health in the Republic of Panama (MINSA in Spanish) awarded SUEZ the contract to extend the wastewater treatment plant (PTAR in Spanish) in Panama City.