Sign Up for Our Newsletter! »

June 29, 2011

Saving the Wildlands of Baja

Wildlands Program

WiLDCOAST and Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) Protect 74 miles of Coastline in Laguna San Ignacio through ZOFEMAT Conservation.

Although Mexico has one of the world’s most extensive systems of protected areas, overseeing agencies have had little capacity in the past to carry out their conservation mission. Many protected areas in Mexico are threatened by destructive development ventures and exploitative natural resource extraction despite federally decreed protective status.

Among the most threatened are the expansive protected areas of the Baja California Peninsula such as the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, the Valle de los Cirios, the islands of the Gulf of California and the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park.

Since 2008, WiLDCOAST has been supporting Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) to add additional conservation layers to the protected areas of the Baja California Peninsula.

As part of WiLDCOAST’s efforts to establish innovative and effective mechanisms to protect threatened coastal areas on the peninsula, WiLDCOAST is providing logistical and technical support to CONANP to conserve the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (ZOFEMAT) in the peninsula’s protected areas.

The ZOFEMAT refers to the first 20 meters of shoreline above the high tide line in Mexico. Concessions to the ZOFEMAT can be granted for development purposes and resource extraction even within Mexico’s protected areas.

Fortunately, the ZOFEMAT can also be set aside for conservation through what is referred to as an acuerdo de destino; giving ZOFEMAT jurisdiction to CONANP to carry out its conservation mission.

WiLDCOAST is providing transportation, equipment and field survey assistance to CONANP to carry out the required field work necessary to submit acuerdos de destino applications in the protected areas of the peninsula.

This collaborative effort resulted in the recently awarded ZOFEMAT acuerdos de destino for 74 miles of ZOFEMAT in Laguna San Ignacio. Applications for an additional 216 miles of shoreline around the lagoon have been submitted and approvals are expected in 2011.

WiLDCOAST and CONANP are also working to protect coastline through ZOFEMAT conservation in Bahia Magdalena, Cabo Pulmo, the Valle de los Cirios and the islands of the Gulf of California.

Continued Success on the Valle de los Cirios Pacific Coast.

This year WiLDCOAST has achieved the conservation of twenty miles of coastline on the Valle de los Cirios Pacific Coast in Baja California through direct purchases and conservation easement agreements.

In an effort to conserve important habitat and ecosystem services and maintain open public access to the coast, WiLDCOAST has been pursuing private land conservation in the region since 2006.

WiLDCOAST’s priority conservation targets are the region’s bays, points, wetlands and dune shoreline areas. With recent acquisitions, WiLDCOAST has successfully conserved nine headlands and four wetlands including surrounding watersheds for a total of 21,738 acres and 20.1 miles of coastline.

We have 15,008 acres and 9.8 miles of deals pending that will by the end of the 2011, will have allowed us to conserve 36,746 acres and 29.9 miles of coastline.