The Laguna San Ignacio Mangrove Restoration Project is currently underway. Laguna San Ignacio is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s last undeveloped California gray whale breeding lagoon. It is located within El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, a 6.2 million acre natural protected area. The communities of the lagoon are active fishing cooperatives, whale-watching outfitters, and small-scale ranchers. Climate change and its increasingly intense tropical storms and sea level rise pose emerging threats to this region. Mangrove trees provide a natural buffer for coastal communities as well as a habitat for marine life. This project provides living wage employment and training opportunities for the local community, empowers gender equity, protects the area from climate change impacts, and safeguards critical habitats for several vulnerable species.
In 2019, WILDCOAST partnered with a local group of women, “Mujeres de El Dátil,” to raise awareness of mangroves environmental services, seedlings collection, planting techniques, and monitoring and maintenance of restored sites. In 2021-2022, these women planted 50,000 mangrove trees across the 25 acres of mangrove forest, and this year they will double that. These trees have the potential to sequester 13,800 metric tonnes of CO2 over their 25-year lifetime. Over the next three to four years, SeaTrees and WILDCOAST plan to restore more than 287 acres of mangrove habitat across Laguna San Ignacio.
SeaTrees and WILDCOAST also brought a National Geographic film crew to the lagoon in March 2022 to film the project and the surrounding ecosystem. This will provide media content and storytelling opportunities to further increase fundraising, attention to the project, and awareness of one of the most critical biodiversity hotspots in Latin America.