New protected areas in San Quintín Bay

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By Verónica Meza

The Destination Agreements (Acuerdos de destino) for the protection of two wetlands in San Quintín Bay, Ensenada were approved last December. Panteón Inglés Norte and Punta Azufre wetlands are now protected by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP). This event was published on the Official Journal of the Federation on December 23, 2015.

Not only do these agreements enable the protection of the 237,229.192 square meters already established in San Quintín Bay, but they also allow the extension of the protection to the whole bay helping the ecosystem and the species. For years, CONANP has been working alongside Terra Peninsular to achieve this through a precise process.

  • Sudoeste (2012)
  • Panteón Inglés Sur (2014)
  • Panteón Inglés Norte (2015)
  • Punta Azufre (2015)

Since 2008, Terra Peninsular has worked alongside CONANP and other organizations to protect hundreds of miles in Baja California’s coastal area by identifying and demarking the most important natural areas. Afterwards, these areas are promoted to the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources to put them at the disposal of CONANP for their designation as Destination Agreements.

The designated use for Destination Agreements is protection, and therefore, it is a resource to help maintaining the natural state of the Maritime and Terrestrial Federal Zone (ZOFEMAT), which is a line that is 20 meters wide and demarcates a vital space between the ocean and land; this border belongs to all of us and it’s established in the Law of National Assets.

Terra Peninsular is making a joint effort with CONANP for the surveillance and protection of the Destination Agreements in San Quintín Bay, and we’re still working on increasing the surface of protected areas.

San Quintín Bay has been identified as a Priority Terrestrial Region by the Mexican National Biodiversity Commission, an Important Bird Area, a Center of Plant Diversity by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and a Site of Regional Importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. Moreover, in 2008 the bay’s lagoon complex was declared as Wetlands of International Importance by the RAMSAR Convention.

Baja California’s high biodiversity is due to its geographic location. The region of San Quintín Bay is relevant because it has a large number of terrestrial and marine species and because it’s also a breeding and wintering zone. During the winter, the bay welcomes over 25 000 migratory shorebirds because it’s an important location in the Pacific Flyway route.

Taking care of the border between the ocean and the continent is of great importance for life’s development in both systems. The well-being of the marine ecosystems depends on the well-being of the terrestrial ecosystems and every living thing that interacts in a recyclable and mutual relationship.