By Antonieta Valenzuela
Through joint work between organizations, universities and research centers from Mexico and the United States, a project is being carried out in Ensenada and San Quintin to study the Estero de Punta Banda, in Ensenada, and San Quintin Bay.
“It is a binational project that seeks to do a comprehensive characterization (aquatic, terrestrial, habitat and wildlife) of the coastal lagoons of the Estero de Punta Banda and San Quintin, since globally they are wetlands that are in a very healthy state of conservation compared to other impacted wetlands along the Pacific coast. We are taking a snapshot of the current state of conservation of these two bays,” explained Cesar Guerrero, the Executive Director.
He mentioned that the main species of the project is the light-footed Ridgway’s rail (scientific name Rallus obsoletus levipes), an endangered species of rail whose populations have declined rapidly in the United States in recent years.
“The conservation of the Ridgway’s rail is linked to the conservation of the coastal lagoons where it lives, so other species of flora and fauna will also benefit.”
He also explained that the long-term goal is to have the information to justify the environmental value of both bays in a technical and scientific manner, and thus identify actions to guarantee their protection.
The project will continue until 2023 and will help generate valuable information on more than 40 threatened species and their habitats. To study both bays, different surveys will be conducted, such as monitoring water quality, monitoring of rails, plants, mammals, reptiles, insects, genetic sampling of rails, habitat assessment, and satellite tagging of rails.
The other organizations involved in the project are CICESE, UABC, Pro Esteros A.C., Fauna del Noroeste A.C., San Diego Natural History Museum, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), University of Idaho, and United States Geological Survey (USGS).