Red Knot migration shows connectivity between Alaska and Ensenada

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Red know (Calidris canutus roselaari) in San Quintín, Baja California. Photo: Javier Girón
Red know (Calidris canutus roselaari) in San Quintín, Baja California. Photo: Javier Girón

By Javier Girón and Abril Heredia

On September 2, 2016 in Ensenada, a Red Knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) with a green band and 1JC code was observed. A month earlier, this same individual was captured and banded, as a juvenile, at a coastal site near Nome, Alaska.

In addition to banding, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists placed a GPS data logger on the bird’s back to collect accurate information about the amount of time this individual spent at each site along its migratory route and the distance of the migration.

Re-sighting this bird indicates migratory connectivity between Alaska and Baja California and also shows that this species flies long distances between the sites upon which its annual cycle depends.

The Red Knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) is a migratory shorebird species that in late summer, after breeding, flies more than 3,000 miles (4,828 km) along the Pacific Flyway to its wintering grounds.

The itinerary of its spring migration is well known; however, little is known about the phenology of its migration, and the length of time spent at each stopover site in the fall.

The current Red Knot population is small (about 20,000 individuals) and in decline, therefore it’s listed as an endangered species and legally protected in Mexico.

Although the causes of population decline are not known, it’s suspected that the degradation of resting and feeding habitats by human disturbance is one of the most likely causes.

MONITORING PROGRAM

Terra Peninsular, in collaboration with CICESE and with the support of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has a shorebird monitoring and conservation project in Bahía Todos Santos.

The objective of this project is to document the areas of the bay that are the most important for shorebirds and measure the impact of human disturbance on shorebird populations, in order to implement conservation actions for these birds and their habitat.

This project will also seek to reduce human pressure on shorebirds by assessing human use patterns in the places where shorebirds rest and feed, and working with coastal area users to develop and test effective strategies to reduce the disturbance.

Because hundreds of Red Knots and thousands of other migratory birds stop over and spend the winter in Bahía Todos Santos, our goal is to have this site designated as important to shorebirds by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN). It’s worth noting that San Quintín Bay was already declared as a WHSRN Site of Importance in 2008.

Shorebird flocks need safe and reliable areas to feed and rest when other feeding sites or mudflats are covered at high tide. Since these places are also popular for recreational activities such as swimming and fishing, it’s important that locals and visitors are aware of these shorebirds and are encourage to respect and conserve their habitat.

Although the causes of the population decline are not known, it’s suspected that the degradation of their resting and feeding habitats by human disturbance is one of the most likely causes.

Migratory route from Nome, Alaska to Ensenada, B.C. Photo: Google Maps
Migratory route from Nome, Alaska to Ensenada, B.C. Photo: Google Maps

Rangeland monitoring workshop in Sierra San Pedro Mártir

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By Jorge Andrade and Antonieta Valenzuela

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The workshop “Monitoring and Evaluation of Health and Productivity of Rangeland in Natural Protected Areas” was offered from September 2 to 4, 2016 in order to provide methodologies for assessing rangelands.

Jorge Sepúlveda and Juan Antonio Chávez from the National Institute of Forestry, Agricultural and Livestock Research (Inifap, in Spanish) gave this theoretical and practical workshop that was held in the Sierra San Pedro Mártir National Park.

For two days, the workshop provided the tools and methods to evaluate the health and productivity of rangeland, especially in areas within the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir and the Sierra de Juárez, since both are Natural Protected Areas in the category of National Park.

Some topics covered during the workshop included guidance for measuring species diversity, methods to evaluate the availability of pasture for cattle, quantify the amount of food available to livestock by area to make it an affordable practice, among others.

Conservation actions with livestock coexist within the space of the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir National Park and the Constitución de 1857 National Park, and the history of both parks is linked to the history of livestock.

Although these are two actions that might appear inconsistent, at Terra Peninsular we believe that both can be carried out in a coordinated manner to ensure the conservation of habitats and sustainable development of this productive activity.

Therefore, this workshop was conceived as an opportunity to include livestock owners in the activities of both protected areas and also to create agreements, this because livestock is a productive activity that has prevailed in these areas for a long time.

Rangelands are areas where cattle grazes, and when these areas are overgrazed, the cattle compact the soil and the land becomes infertile. If a regenerative livestock management is implemented, this can be reversed, restoring vegetation, aquifers, and generally has both economic and environmental benefits.

More than 20 people participated in the workshop, including staff of the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir National Park and Constitución de 1857 National Park, as well as staff of Terra Peninsular, and livestock owners from Ejido Bramadero, an area located near the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir.

It is worth mentioning that this project is being funded by JiJi Foundation, and is part of a strategy for conserving priority sites through the inclusion of local actors.

Waste management workshop at La Chorera

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By Jorge Andrade and Antonieta Valenzuela

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After four sessions throughout the month of September, the workshop on “Good practices for waste management” ended last September 24, 2016 in La Chorera, in San Quintín.

The workshop was given by two environmental consultants, Adriana Puma and Mark Lupio from Proyectos Ambientales Integrales (an environmental consultancy agency), and focused on providing the participants the tools for identifying the amount and types of waste produced in La Chorera and also to find sustainable options to recover its value.

With the participation of 20 women, some of the topics studied in the workshop were waste sorting, environmental policies, types of composting, biodegradation, preparing vermicompost, among others, it also included team activities to strengthen the analysis and brainstorming.

“Garbage is wasted money,” said Adriana Puma in one of the workshop sessions, she explained that 80% of what we know as garbage may actually have another use, and therefore it should not be considered garbage but waste.

One of the first exercises of the workshop was that the participants had to identify and weigh of the garbage produced per person during a period of time, they had to take into account the tools acquired during the first two sessions.

After each person shared the results of the exercise and made a list of the types of waste, the participants worked together to make an estimate of the waste produced in the entire community of 130 people; at the end, the numbers showed that on average each person in La Chorera produces around 2.6 pounds of waste per day, mostly plastic.

This amount exceeds the average in Baja California of 1.8 pounds of garbage produced per person in a day, according to data from the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (Inegi).

“Now you know how much waste is generated in the community and that it may become an income, there is no need to generate more trash” said Adriana Puma at the end of the group exercise, she added that “Everything you create can have a value, you just need to find out a way to make it happen.”

Because of the importance of engaging communities in activities that promote environmental care, there is the possibility of replicating this workshop in other communities within San Quintín Bay, a place of great importance for conservation.

This project was conducted with the support of Pro Esteros A.C. and it was funded by the Conservation Program for Sustainable Development (Procodes in Spanish) of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas along with North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).

Shorebirds conservation workshop held in Ensenada

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Por Gabriela Valle

A workshop on “Good Governance for the Conservation of Shorebirds in the San Quintín Lagoon Complex” took place on August 2 and 3, 2016 in the Caracol Museum of Sciences in Ensenada. It was organized by Terra Peninsular with the support of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) and the United States Forest Service.

The aim of this workshop was to reach agreements with the different key actors in San Quintín Bay, under the good governance model, in order to improve the management of the bay so that it continues to be a favorable environment for shorebirds that arrive there during their migration.

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Two important aspects were defined during this workshop: the first is the proposal of creating a Natural Protected Area (ANP in Spanish) in San Quintín; while the second consists on a management plan to establish dialogues in order to make progress with the process of creating an ANP under a joint agreement.

To achieve the latter, different activities were conducted to identify the stakeholders involved in San Quintín Bay and to see how they are involved in the site’s conservation activities.

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Other objectives of the workshop included the discussion of a conceptual framework on governance applicable to sites of importance for the conservation of shorebirds in Mexico, learning and application of tools for managing governance, and reflection on those underlying ethical foundations for good governance practices for conservation.

In addition, the second day included a bird watching trip to La Lagunita, in Ensenada, with the attendance of all the participants of the workshop.

The workshop was attended by the head of the Secretariat of Environmental Protection of Baja California, Thelma Castañeda; the Head of Protected Areas, Sergio Hirales; the municipal delegate of San Quintín, Luis Reyes; people from the communities of San Quintín and the aquaculture sector, as well as staff from Pro Esteros A.C., CICESE, CONANP, Ramsar and environmental consultants.

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Global Shorebird Counting 2016

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Terra Peninsular and Grupo de Aves del Noroeste de México (GANO in Spanish) participated in the Global Shorebird Counting to celebrate World Shorebirds Day, this event was held on September 6th 2016 and each year seeks to raise awareness about the conservation of this group of birds and their habitats.

Arenaria interpres en Ensenada-Javier Girón

Volunteers and supporters of both Terra Peninsular and GANO performed bird counts in three locations of the peninsula of Baja California, which is located in one of the most important migration corridors in the world, the Pacific Corridor.

In Ensenada, Baja California, the most abundant species observed were marbled godwits (Limosa fedoa) with a total of 528 individuals; 321 willets (Tringa semipalmata); 263 sanderlings (Calidris alba); and 138 grey plovers (Pluvialis squatarola).

It’s worth mentioning that 75 red knots (Calidris canutus roselaari) were seen in Ensenada. In addition, banded birds of different species were found, this proves the connectivity of Bahía Todos Santos with other sites in the Pacific.

In La Paz, Baja California Sur, the most abundant species observed were Western sandpipers (Calidris mauri) with a total of 1477 individuals; 326 semipalmated plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus) and 78 least sandpipers (Calidris minutilla).

In the same state in Loreto, the most abundant species were semipalmated plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus) with 16 individuals observed; 9 least sandpipers (Calidris minutilla) and 7 willets (Tringa semipalmata).

Due to the Hurricane Newton in Loreto, two Baird’s sandpipers (Calidris bairdii) were seen, this is a rare species that occurs on the peninsula only during the fall migration.

Shorebirds counts regularly conducted are a basic element for the protection of their populations and the conservation of their habitats, it also helps the less experienced bird watchers to improve their skills and thus increase the number of people conducting bird monitoring worldwide.

WHAT IS THE GLOBAL SHOREBIRD COUNTING ABOUT?

The Global Shorebird Counting program is one of the key events of the World Shorebirds Day, an effort to raise awareness about the importance of regular bird monitoring/counting as the core element of protection of bird populations and habitat conservation.

The World Shorebirds Day was created with the following aims:

  • To raise public awareness about the need to protect shorebirds and their habitats throughout their life cycles;
  • To raise public awareness about the need for ongoing shorebird research;
  • To connect people with shorebirds through important shorebird sites around the world;
  • To get shorebird enthusiasts to introduce shorebirds to more birdwatchers;
  • To raise awareness about the need for increased funding for shorebird research, monitoring and conservation.

New Destination Agreement in San Quintín

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A new Destination Agreement (Acuerdo de Destino) was published in the Official Journal of the Federation (from Diario Oficial de la Federación) on September 14, 2016 and establishes the protection of ​​123,598.95 square meters of federal maritime zone known as Monte Ceniza, San Quintín.

The Destination Agreement is a conservation tool that has no expiration date issued by the Directorate General of Federal Maritime Zone and Coastal Environments (DGZFMTAC) of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).

These agreements are requested for conservation and protection against agricultural concessions, tourism developments, sand mining or pebble extraction, among others.

To date there are nine Destination Agreements in San Quintín Bay: between 2012 and 2015 the protection of  237, 240.19 square meters of wetlands was established; in addition, a total of 818, 506.54 square meters were established in 2016. This gives a total of 1,055,746.73 square meters of protected wetlands in the bay.

The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and Terra Peninsular will continue to make a joint effort to protect this and all the Destination Agreements already established in San Quintín Bay through monitoring in order to increase the area of ​​protected wetlands in the bay.

Visit to the Ramsar site in San Quintín

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In 2016, Wild Coast visited the Ramsar sites in Baja California, these areas are part of the Wetlands of International Importance List and are adhered to the Ramsar Convention.

Nowadays there are more than 2200 Ramsar sites around the world, of which 142 are in Mexico and 5 are in the state of Baja California.

  • Costal Corridor La Asamblea-San Francisquito
  • Rasa Island
  • Estero of Punta Banda, Ensenada
  • San Quintín Bay
  • Hanson Lake, National Park Constitución de 1857

Pro Esteros and Terra Peninsular participated during the visit to the Ramsar site in San Quintín Bay, a wetland of international importance designated on February 2nd, 2008.

Read the full article of WildCoast about the visited wetlands in Baja California here

RAMSAR SITE IN SAN QUINTIN

The Ramsar site in San Quintín Bay was designated in 2008 as a result of the efforts between Pro Esteros, The Nature Conservancy, Pronatura Noroeste and Terra Peninsular.

The San Quintín Bay is rare wetland in the region and it is one of the few wetlands in the western coast of Baja California. Besides, it is an ecosystem that presents a great variety of habitats in a healthy state of conservation.

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New Temporary Employment Program in San Quintín

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By Por Jorge Andrade and Antonieta Valenzuela

Through a joint effort between the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) and Terra Peninsular, the Temporary Employment Program (PET) started on Monday, August 22 in San Quintín Bay.

This program aims to restore 8 miles of interpretive trails, including the restoration of informative signs and interpretive stations, as well as garbage collection; this program currently provides temporary employment to 120 people from the communities La Chorera and Chapala.

The interpretive trails are an ecotourism activity where visitors walk through paths that connect informative signs with the purpose of learning about the environment, in this case, to learn about the unique natural features of San Quintín Bay.

In addition to the signs, the interpretive stations of Terra Peninsular, La Ola and Mirador Valle Volcánico, are part of these trails.

This restoration seeks to provide clean and accessible paths for both locals and visitors so they visit San Quintín Bay and learn about the ecological importance of the bay and its feature, that way they also learn to respect the flora and fauna of the area.

Although the main objective of this program is the restoration of interpretive trails, the residents of both Chapala and La Chorera decided to separate all the trash they collect at the interpretive trails and send it to a recycling plant.

This proves that the social awareness actions in the communities are working, the residents showed interest in participating in the Temporary Employment Program and also, they had the initiative to recycle the trash.

The Temporary Employment Program of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) is included in two programs of Terra Peninsular: Adaptive Habitat Management and Social Awareness and Participation.

PET-SEMARNAT 2016 (1)

Terra Peninsular participates in Accountability Mechanisms Workshop

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By César Guerrero and Antonieta Valenzuela

Photo: FUNDAR A.C.
Photo: FUNDAR A.C.

The executive director of Terra Peninsular, César Guerrero, participated in the Accountability Mechanisms and Civil Society Workshop on June 8, 2016 in Mexico City; the event was attended by important civil society organizations in our country.

The purpose of the workshop was to explain how the independent accountability mechanisms (IAMs) operate and provide the necessary tools so that organizations can have access to information about projects in Mexico funded by the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, among others, that could cause environmental or social impacts.

Also, during the workshop it was explained that any person, organization or institution may file a complaint through the IAMs and request an analysis of any project. When making a complaint, the organization opens an investigation and a review is carried out in the field to analyze the situation. Claims or complaints are not anonymous, but people can apply for identity protection.

Photo: FUNDAR A.C.
Photo: FUNDAR A.C.

The executive director stated that although these independent accountability mechanisms don’t have the authority to cancel projects, they have achieved to positively influence on the implementation of funded projects, and causing as little impact as possible.

The event was organized by Fundar Center for Analysis and Research, the Center for Civic Collaboration (CCC) and the Regional Group on Finance and Infrastructure (GREFI, in Spanish); in collaboration with the Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (ICIM) of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, the Inspection Panel (IP), Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of the World Bank Group, Complaints Mechanism of the European Investment Bank (CMEIB) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Terra Peninsular have printed material for consultation, interested people can visit the Department of Development and Communications, from Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 14:00 and 15:00 to 18:00 hours. Or write a mail to info@terrapeninsular.org

For more information on the accountability mechanisms, general trends and user experiences, you can read the final report of the workshop in Spanish here.

Photo: FUNDAR A.C.
Photo: FUNDAR A.C.
Photo: FUNDAR A.C.
Photo: FUNDAR A.C.
Photo: FUNDAR A.C.
Photo: FUNDAR A.C.

Then the list of independent organizations dedicated to accountability:

Independent Consultation and Investigation Mechanism (ICIM) of the Inter-American Development Bank Group: accountability office that receives complaints from communities that have been affected by operations financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).

Inspection Panel (IP): is an independent mechanism for receiving complaints for those who believe they have been harmed by a project financed by the World Bank.

Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of the World Bank Group: independent accountability mechanism of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) regarding environmental and social issues.

Complaints Mechanism of the European Investment Bank (CMEIB): its aim is to ensure that the agents of the European Investment Bank exercise their right to complain and that they are include for resolution, consulting and monitoring.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC): is a problem solving office that helps address the conflicts over the social and environmental effects of projects financed by OPIC.