Protecting the Baja Peninsula

NRDC works with local partners to protect the Baja California Peninsula’s unique coastal and marine ecosystems from exploitation and overdevelopment. 

School of Panamic porkfishes in the Sea of Cortez in Cabo Pulmo, Baja California, Mexico

Credit: Gerard Soury/Getty

Since defending Laguna San Ignacio—the last pristine nursery of the California gray whale—from plans to build a massive saltworks complex there, NRDC has remained committed to working with local partners to safeguard the marine and coastal habitat of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico.

  • As part of the Laguna San Ignacio Conservation Alliance, a coalition of U.S. and Mexican environmental groups and members of the local community Ejido Luis Echeverría Álvarez, we’ve worked to ensure permanent protections for the lagoon, including almost 340,000 acres of key land around it and some 150 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline.
  • At the southern tip of the peninsula, NRDC joined local groups, scientists, and community members to defend the thriving coral reefs of Cabo Pulmo National Park from plans to build a colossal tourism and real estate complex called Cabo Cortes. Every time the project’s proponents have attempted to resuscitate the proposal, we have helped the Cabo Pulmo Vivo Coalition defend our hard-won victory.
  • Bordering the peninsula on the east side are the rich waters of the Gulf of California—a World Heritage Site—which supports a stunning diversity of marine species, including the vaquita porpoise. Found only in the northern Gulf of California, the vaquita marina is the world’s most critically endangered marine mammal. Over the years, NRDC has worked on several fronts to save this species, from raising awareness about vaquita threats in seafood markets to using U.S. laws and international conventions to pressure Mexico to halt the vaquita’s decline. With only 10 vaquitas left, NRDC is racing against time, holding Mexico accountable for the vaquita’s fate.


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