Baja California Desert

Level III Ducks Unlimited conservation priority area, host to thousands of Pacific Flyway shorebirds during the winter and migration

The west coast of the peninsula of Baja California is adorned with a series of wetlands in near-pristine conditions. These areas play a major role for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway, hosting thousands of shorebirds during the winter and on migration. They provide calving grounds for the gray whale, are the principal wintering area for Pacific black brant and contain endemic and endangered species of plants and animals. DU Mexico works in close cooperation with the municipal, state and federal government in Mexico as well as local non-governmental organizations, to protect the habitats of the Baja Peninsula. The support of DU on the development and implementation of management plans for these areas is key to securing protection in harmony with sustainable use and development of these sites.

Importance to waterfowl

  • In 1998, 164,848 waterfowl were distributed along the Baja Peninsula.
  • More than 80 percent of the Pacific brant population winters in the Pacific coast of Mexico, and most of the Mexican wintering population is found along the west coast of Baja California at three areas: San Quintin, Scammon's and San Ignacio lagoons.
  • Baja California Desert mapBrant use of the Mexican west coast has increased significantly from 84 percent of the total North American population in the 1960s, to 92 percent in the 1970s and 93 percent during the 1980s (USFWS).

Habitat issues

  • Research is needed to determine how these areas function as ecosystems to help guide decisions on projects that may harm the natural conditions of the bays.

DU's conservation focus

  • Build strong partnerships with municipal, state and federal agencies.
  • Build strong partnerships with other conservation groups to support the development of management plans and conservation initiatives.
  • Promote designation of federally protected areas.
  • Develop a public awareness program.
  • DU recently developed the wetlands inventory and classification of the major habitats for waterfowl along the Pacific coast of Baja California.

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