WILDCOAST, in collaboration with Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), is launching an ambitious mangrove restoration project in Laguna San Ignacio, located on the southwestern coast of El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The lagoon, on Baja’s Pacific Coast, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a critical habitat for gray whales during the winter months.
This innovative new restoration project, funded by the United Nations Development Program, aims to restore 100 acres of disturbed mangrove sites in Laguna San Ignacio with the participation of local fishing communities.
Over the next year we will be using GIS and remote sensing tools to identify degraded sites and restore those areas by rehabilitating hydrological flows and reforestation.
Coastal wetlands, particularly mangroves, provide a wide variety of environmental services: they are feeding, refuge, and growth areas of juvenile fish, of commercial value, as well as crustaceans; act as natural flood control systems and as protective barriers against hurricanes. They control erosion and protect coasts, improve water quality by functioning as a biological filter, and help coastline’s adapt to sea level rise.
They are also blue carbon ecosystems, meaning they sequester and store atmospheric carbon. In fact, the desert mangroves of Laguna San Ignacio sequester up to five times more carbon than tropical mangroves. Their protection and restoration are critical for coastal resiliency in the face of climate change.
Through the project we will be working with women from local communities to restore ecosystem functions. The project will help build their capacity for future restoration in Laguna San Ignacio as well as provide critical economic resources that will go to improve household and community well-being. Investing in projects that employ women is a key feature of community building and sustainable development in Mexico.
To help support WILDCOAST’s mangrove restoration and women’s empowerment project in Laguna San Ignacio, please donate here.