Protecting Coral Reefs in the Mexican Pacific: Q1 2019 PROGRESS UPDATE

WILDCOAST is making considerable progress with protecting coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific! It’s been quite a busy first part of the year for this organization. Over the course of this grant, WILDCOAST has developed and distributed 5,000 Wildlife and Dive Guides for the 13,613-acre marine portion of Oaxaca’s Huatulco National Park. The organization is currently working with the Huatulco Hoteliers Association to distribute the guides. A printed short survey will be included for the hotel guests to complete to help evaluate the impact of the guides. The organization is also partnering with Isla Espiritu Santo National Park to create a new guide for the 48,655-acre park.

In addition to guides, WILDCOAST implemented the first coordinated network of mooring and conservation buoy systems in the Mexican Pacific. With grant funding, the organization installed a total of 200 mooring and conservation buoys in Huatulco National Park and an additional 10 mooring buoys in Espiritu Santo National Park that will protect more than 150 acres of corals. WILDCOAST also facilitated trainings with eight park rangers from the national parks of Huatulco, Cabo Pulmo, Isla Espiritu Santo, Isla Isabel and Islas Marietas, on the installation and maintenance of mooring buoys. WILDCOAST carried out buoy maintenance in seven bays in Huatulco National Park that were impacted during the 2018 hurricane season and large swell events.

To advance their training goals for this grant, WILDCOAST facilitated trainings with a total of 80 tourism outfitters in Huatulco, Isla Isabel, Espiritu Santo, and Cabo Pulmo National Parks to improve on-site coral reef visitor management and best visitation practices in the parks. In partnership with Isla Isabel, Espiritu Santo, Huatulco, and Cabo Pulmo National Parks, WILDCOAST also facilitated an exchange of thirty park staff and tourism outfitters to improve visitor management in the four protected areas.

To support in building community support and stewardship for local reef ecosystems in Oaxaca (Huatulco), and Baja California Sur (La Paz, Los Barriles and Cabo Pulmo), a total of 2,732 community members were engaged in activities including presentations at local schools as well as conservation themed photographic exhibits and informational stands during local festivals.

Lastly, WILDCOAST identified hard coral species to be included in the Mexican Act for protected species (NOM-059). We submitted two proposals to the Biodiversity Department of SEMARNAT to include two hard coral species in Mexico’s endangered species list (NOM-059).

Project Name: Coral Reef Conservation In Mexican Pacific
Organization Name: WILDCOAST
Year Grant Awarded: 2017
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update


WILDCOAST is starting the year strong with their Oaxaca Sea Turtle Conservation Project and has made great progress with a number of their goals.  First off, planning activities began to get ready for carrying out 12 monitoring trips this year. To this end, WILDCOAST met with local community partners and the Mexican Sea Turtle Center and additionally analyzed data from the nine monitoring trips that took place in the 2018-2019 season.  They estimate more than two million turtles nested at Morro Ayuta in the 9.3 mile stretch of beach and they are excited to begin their studies in 2019!  They also initiated planning activities with local partners for beetle control implementation that affects the sea turtles for the 2019-2020 arribada season that commences in August.  WILDCOAST also worked with the Mexican Sea Turtle Center to renew a collaboration agreement to develop conservation protections for the Morro Ayuta area.

Towards their goal of designing education materials, WILDCOAST developed an initial draft of a guide for sea turtle habitat visitation for local communities and visitors that includes maps, other visuals, and visitation best practices.  The organization also engaged 98 students from a local indigenous village in sea turtle conservation experiential learning activities and in Huatulco, WILDCOAST reached 130 local residents and tourists through an environmental festival to promote conservation of sea turtles.  WILDCOAST is also hard at work collaborating with the Mexican Sea Turtle Center to organize a workshop to train locals in the immediate response to oil spills and oiled wildlife. Lastly, WILDCOAST initiated a needs assessment for the indigenous communities of Rio Seco and Morro Ayuta.  Great work WILDCOAST!

Project Name: Sea Turtle Conservation Project
Organization Name: WILDCOAST
Year Grant Awarded: 2018
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update

Promoting and Facilitating the Reduction of Single-Use Plastics Q1 2019 Progress Update:

ATCF is thrilled with the work Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero has accomplished in Q1 2019.  The stunning beauty of the Baja California region in Mexico attracts millions of tourists annually and the need for protecting the unique and rich coastal ecosystems that serve as home for so many important species is of critical importance.  Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero raises awareness of the harm people are inflicting on the health and well-being of their community, the wildlife and the natural environment through excessive use of single-use plastics to educate and build awareness at an individual, organizational and institutional level.

The first quarter has been a busy one for the organization and they have been hard at work affecting change at multiple levels!  Within schools, this quarter Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero gave educational presentations and workshops about single-use plastics to 365 students in 7 schools and presented a similar campaign to 400 students at the annual Todos Santos Film Festival.  They also created teams of Desplastificate Ambassadors who will serve as champions of eliminating single-use plastic waste and 3 schools received co-creative workshops with principals, teachers and students in attendance to plan how the schools can go about eliminating single-use plastics from their schools.

At a business level, posters for “5-Turtle Rating System” were created that rate hotels and restaurants on their single-use plastic consumption to incentivize businesses to reduce their environmental impacts.  Conversations were initiated with 32 of 76 targeted tourism related businesses - restaurants and hotels - to invite them to join the campaign and to determine their “turtle rating.”  Lastly, recruitment and promotion support of a local grocery store as distributor of compostable alternatives so that local businesses have better options.

Also, Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero advanced their work at a community level from many initiatives including, collaborating with the Todos Santos Film Festival’s short film competition to promote Desplastificate as this year’s theme statewide.  In addition, 2 beach community cleanups were held and a “7 Actions You Can Take to support “Desplastify” poster was created and featured in a local publication. Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero also collaborated with the Todos Santos GastroVino May Festival to facilitate low plastic consumption for the festival and participated in website design for the statewide Desplastificate campaign.

Project Name: Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero
Organization Name: Desplastificate Todos Santos y Pescadero Aliance
Year Grant Awarded: 2018
Progress Update: Quarter 1, 2019 Project Update