|Saúl Alarcón Farfán, Executive Director|
Global biodiversity hotspots are sites that contain an extraordinary array of species and their conservation is considered key to the survival of thousands of unique organisms. In the Northern Hemisphere of the New World, only the Caribbean, Mesoamerica and the California Floristic Province have deserved this designation. The California Floristic Province includes 70% of California and extends into southwestern Oregon, a small part of western Nevada and northern Baja California. Anchored by San Quintin Bay at the southern end, the Pacific watersheds of Baja California north of the 30th parallel comprise the Mexican part of the Californian Floristic Zone.
The southern portion of the California Floristic Province contains eight wetland ecosystems that historically presented similar characteristics: Ventura-Oxnard Harbor, Marina del Rey-Ballona Lagoon, Los Angeles-San Pedro Bay, Newport Bay, Oceanside Harbor, San Diego-Mission Bay, Ensenada-Bahia de Todos Santos Bay, and San Quintin Bay. Unfortunately, with the exception of San Quintin Bay and a small portion of Ensenada-Bahia de Todos Santos Bay, development has caused the disappearance of most of the natural habitat within these wetlands.
Terra Peninsular is working, in collaboration with other nonprofit organizations and the Mexican Federal government, to protect the most important habitats in San Quintin Bay by establishing a 297,000-acre natural protected area and setting aside large tracks of private land for conservation in the bay. The conservation of San Quintin Bay is extremely important for the survival of migratory waterfowls, shorebirds and raptors in the northern hemisphere and to maintain the health of one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the California Floristic Province.
Investing in conservation of our wetlands is not a luxury. It is smart decision that will avoid costly measures in the future. For example, San Diego may spend from $58 to $100 million dollars to cap or remove 140,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments in just 16 acres. Fish caught in San Diego Bay contains elevated levels of toxins like Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), mercury and arsenic that makes them dangerous for human consumption.
We have in our hands a different future for San Quintin Bay.