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EL VIZCAINO BIOSPHERE RESERVE

Program Area

The Baja California Peninsula is one of the most unique desert regions on earth.  The in­terplay of biological elements, complex geology, and the surrounding ocean environment yield an extraordinary web of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Undisturbed beaches, expansive lagoons, bays, headlands and barrier islands provide habitat to a rich assortment of endemic, endangered and threatened plant and animal species. The uninterrupted ecosystems of the peninsula are a rare commodity in the world and are disappearing at an alarming rate. Despite such close proximity to Southern California, many coastal areas on the peninsula remain completely untouched. Unfortunately, rapacious and poorly planned development projects are a real and continuous threat to the natural coastal landscape of even the most undisturbed corners of the Baja California Peninsula. Large industrial and tourism development projects, such as the ESSA salt extraction ventures of the Vizcaino desert, the Escalera Nautica proposal, Liquid Natural Gas terminals and shorefront high rise condominium development, are putting the peninsula’s coastal areas under significant risk of environmental destruction and could signify the loss of important ecosystem services.

Conservation Strategies

WiLDCOAST is working diligently to stop these threats from destroying the ecological integrity of the Baja California Peninsula.  Through direct land purchases, conservation easement agreements and partnerships with Mexican government agencies, WiLDCOAST’ is conserving critical habitat and ecosystems, maintaining open public coastal access and building on-site environmental stewardship within the region’s most biologically significant locations. With initiatives in the Valle de los Cirios, Laguna San Ignacio, Cabo Pulmo and Bahia Magdalena, WiLDCOAST is quickly becoming the leading protectorate of private lands in Northwest Mexico.

Impact

WiLDCOAST has protected over 23,000 acres and 29.41 miles of coastline through private lands acquisitions and has helped stop several mega-development projects that would permanently alter the unique natural landscapes of the Baja California Peninsula. 

We are working with CONANP to update the management plan to help improve the protection of gray whales, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and the region’s globally significant coastal and marine ecosystems. Our WILDCOAST chapters in Punta Abreojos, La Bocana and Bahia Asuncion are working diligently to clean up the coastline and conserve critical wetlands and reefs vital for maintaining valuable lobster and abalone grounds. 

Additionally, WiLDCOAST is working with Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) to conserve hundreds of thousands of acres of federal lands and the 20-meter federal maritime-terrestrial zone (ZOFEMAT) in the peninsula’s most threatened coastal areas. 

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Zachary Plopper
Conservation Director

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