The Grande Cariçaie is made up of a total of eight nature reserves, seven of which were designated by the state councils in the Cantons of Vaud and Fribourg in October 2001 and March 2002 respectively, and one more which falls under the authority of the Cantons of Neuchâtel and Bern. Recogition of the diversity of landscapes and species found in the Grande Cariçaie and the total number of plant and animal populations living in the area has extended far beyond the reserve itself: it is part of the Emerald Reserves network of the European Council and considered to be a “Wetland of International Importance” or “Ramsar” site under The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The Ramsar convention was created in 1971 to protect the transitory habitats of migratory birds and is named for the Iranian village where it was signed.
With 2,500 hectares (6,175 acres) of shallow zones, 700 hectares (1,729 acres) of marshes and 1,100 hectares (2,717 acres) of forest, The Grande Cariçaie constitutes the largest Lakeside wetland complex in Switzerland. The area protects approximately 20% of the national heritage lowland marshes which have been inventoried on the Central Swiss Plateau to date.