By Hiram Peña, Assistant Director

This January, we concluded a 4-year project with the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature (Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, FMCN). During this time we worked with several community groups in two of the largest wetlands in the region: Bahía Adair and Bahía San Jorge. We formalized 5 community groups: Red de Humedales de Bahía Adair, Mujeres Trabajando from ejido Campodonico, Punto Limpio also from ejido Campodonico, Lobos from Bahia San Jorge, and Ribereños from Bahia San Jorge.

The groups were trained, giving them a strong foundation for promoting the conservation of their marine and coastal resources. Their active participation has led them to gain confidence, manage resources and seek new alliances to strengthen their community and values.

During these 4 years we also worked with other organizations: 1MISSION, CIAD (Center for Research in Aliment and Development) and ISDA (International Sonoran Desert Alliance), local educational institutions, as well as federal and municipal instances like CONANP (Natural Protected Areas Commission), CEA (State Water Commission) and municipalities of Puerto Peñasco and Caborca, to manage resources, conduct training, and create collaborations to meet the interests and needs of the different groups.

We continued with the biological monitoring for the conservation of key species with broad community participation. We held talks and workshops involving young people and children with activities designed to understand the importance, care, and conservation of natural resources.

 In January of this year we started a new project (also funded by FMCN), focused on achieving long-term management for the Peñasco – Lobos Corridor. This project will formalize participation of coastal community groups and integrate them into a spatial management process with the interests of all stakeholders with a shared vision. Our hope is that we reach agreements for conservation actions for wetlands that will have a direct impact on the adjacent marine ecosystem and support development of the communities in the region.

In this first year, each of these groups will be given information on the general importance of wetlands and their relevance to community economic interests. Groups will be invited to participate in conservation actions such as the annual Coastal Cleanup that CEDO has conducted for several years in coordination with The Ocean Conservancy.

These are our most important goals for the Coastal Conservation Program in the Peñasco – Lobos Corridor Project in 2016.