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February 21, 2013

297 Miles of Shoreline Protected in Laguna San Ignacio and the Vizcaino Peninsula

WiLDCOAST and Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Natural Areas Continues Partnership to Protect Critical Shoreline on the Baja California Peninsula
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Shoreline protected in Laguna San Ignacio through the ZOFEMAT acuerdos de destino process

Since 2008, WiLDOCAST has been working with Mexico’s National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) to add strategic conservation layers to existing protected areas on the Baja California Peninsula. What many do not know is that much of the peninsula is designated for conservation. The Valle de los Cirios Area of Protected Flora and Fauna and the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve together create over twelve million acres of protected land from El Rosario in the north to the southern reaches of Laguna San Ignacio.

Unfortunately, shoreline in front of these areas is not protected. In Mexico, the first 20 meters of coastline above the high tide line is referred as the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone, or ZOFEMAT, to which concessions can be obtained for development and resource extraction even adjacent to federally protected areas.  WiLDCOAST is working with CONANP to obtain conservation concessions, or acuerdos de destino, to key stretches of ZOFEMAT adjacent to protected areas.

This effort has to date resulted in the conservation of 297 miles of shoreline on the Baja California Peninsula and the Sea of Cortez. Included in this area is shoreline that was planned for ESSA’s salt extraction project on the northern shore of Laguna San Ignacio, one of the world’s last undisturbed grey whale breeding grounds. Other areas that have been protected through this effort include Sea of Cortez shoreline in Sinaloa and coastline on the Vizcaino Peninsula between Bahia Asuncion and Punta Abreojos.  

WiLDCOAST and CONANP have submitted acuerdos de destino applications for an additional 161 miles representing shoreline in Bahia de Loreto, Bahia Magdalena, Cabo Pulmo and remaining areas in Laguna San Ignacio and the Vizcaino Peninsula. In 2013, WiLDCOAST will monitor the approval process for these applications and complete field work and submit applications for acuerdos de destino representing 618 miles throughout the peninsula and the Sea of Cortez.