The barrier islands and expansive lagoons of Bahia Magdalena are some of the most biological significant coastal sites in North America. Along with Laguna San Ignacio and Ojo de Liebre, Bahia Magdalena provides one of the last intact California Grey Whale breeding grounds on the planet. The bay’s expansive mangrove forests provide essential ecosystems services and supports habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife. Bahia Magdalena is home to four species of sea turtles, over 80 resident and migratory bird species and fisheries that provide significantly to the regional economy.
Unfortunately, the overexploitation of local wildlife, development pressures and pollution are weighing heavily on the ecological fabric of Bahia Magdalena. Sea turtle and shark poaching is a continuous threat to the bay as they it is throughout coastal Mexico. Without environmental safeguards and effective planning mechanisms, speculative development interests are putting the region’s biological hotspots at risk of permanent destruction.
WILDCOAST started its coastal and marine conservation efforts in Bahia Magdalena in 2010 incorporating the lessons we have learned in other regions of the Baja California Peninsula. To improve the conservation of the bay and its resources, we identified the need for sustainable coastal planning, improved fishing regulations and enforcement, improved conservation capacity among local leaders and improved civic engagement in conservation issues.
WILDCOAST is pursuing a variety of strategies to protect Bahia Magdalena from irreversible destruction.
- We are working closely with Mexico’s Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) to protect 59,000 acres of mangrove forests and 700 miles of shoreline, including the bay’s barrier islands, through federal conservation concessions.
- We are providing CONANP with technical assistance to promote and accelerate the Islands of the Pacific Biosphere Reserve which will include the barrier islands of Bahia Magdalena.
- We are constantly working to build the conservation capacity of local communities to facilitate civic engagement in local planning and to seek government financial support for small sustainability projects.
- We are carrying out workshops for high school students about marine mammals monitoring and other wildlife and local resource conservation issues.
- We are working with government agencies, local leaders and organized civil groups to promote solid waste management.
- Since 2012, we have been assisting the local government to develop a Land Use Program to guide local zoning and conservation planning.
- We are advocating the sustainable consumption of seafood in Bahia Magdalena as part of a larger national campaign to conserve Mexico’s marine resources
Our accomplishments in 2016 include:
- Invited the rock band Link Park and Music for Relief to Bahia Magdalena to kick off our #mangleESvida campaing to help conserve the region's important mangrove forest.
- Trained and educted 750 students in the coastal communities of Bahia Magdalena on the importance of mangrove conservation and marine mammals.
- With support from the United State Consulate in Tijuana, we organized the "Blue Carbo for Coastal Conservation" workshop to develop new innovative ways to conserve mangroves.
- Through the government's ZOFEMAT program, we helped conserved 344 miles of coastlines and 5,700 acres of mangroves through conservation concessions.
- Submitted conservation concessions through CONANP for 358 miles of coastline and 227 acres of mangroves and salt marshes in Bahia Magdalena and the Gulf of California.
Our past conservation accomplishments have included:
- The distribution of 12 issues of the quarterly gazette, Ef Faro, (28,000 copies) in 10 communities on the Baja California Peninsula.
- The participation of 32 community members in a public consultation process regarding a dredging project in Bahía Magdalena. The participants signed a petition against the project directed to the government agency in charge of the consultation process.
- As a result of multiple negotiations, Comondú government agreed to sign a collaboration agreement with WILDOCAST and other local conservation organizations, to start looking for funds to elaborate its Land Use Program.