Sign Up for Our Newsletter! »

February 14, 2011

43 Miles of Shoreline in Laguna San Ignacio Protected

Mexico's National Commission for Protected Areas has been granted jurisdiction over 43 miles of undeveloped shoreline in Laguna San Ignacio
43 miles of shoreline (outlined in blue) has been set aside for conservation.

Major news in the efforts to protect Laguna San Ignacio came out of Mexico City last week with the declaration that jurisdiction over 43 miles of the Federal Maritime-Terrestrial Zone, or ZOFEMAT, have been transferred to Mexico’s Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) to be set aside for conservation. Since 2008, WiLDCOAST has been providing technical and logistical assistance to CONANP to carry out required surveys and applications to obtain ZOFEMAT acuerdos de destino, similar to conservation concessions, within the protected areas of the Baja California Peninsula.

Although Laguna San Ignacio is located within the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, Mexico’s highest level of a protected area, ZOFEMAT concessions around the lagoon can be obtained for development purposes or natural resource extraction. In coastal areas throughout Mexico, illegal development within the ZOFEMAT can be seen often resulting in significant erosion and shoreline habitat loss. Legal concessions within protected areas can have tremendous impacts on wildlife and the ecological integrity of some of Mexico’s most significant biological hotspots, such as Laguna San Ignacio.

Fortunately, WiLDCOAST and CONANP are working diligently to take the ZOFEMAT of Baja’s protected areas off the development agenda. Applications for an additional 240 miles in Laguna San Ignacio are pending and expected to be awarded sometime in 2011. Fieldwork is underway in the Valle de los Cirios, Bahia Magdalena, Cabo Pulmo and the islands of the Gulf of California.