• Adriana Hernández Alvarez

    Mexico: Protecting Red Knots and grunion sardines in the Gulfo de Santa Clara

  • Adriana Hernández Alvarez

    Mexico: Protecting Red Knots and grunion sardines in the Gulfo de Santa Clara

  • Adriana Hernández Alvarez

    Mexico: Protecting Red Knots and grunion sardines in the Gulfo de Santa Clara

  • Adriana Hernández Alvarez

    Mexico: Protecting Red Knots and grunion sardines in the Gulfo de Santa Clara

  • Adriana Hernández Alvarez

    Mexico: Protecting Red Knots and grunion sardines in the Gulfo de Santa Clara

In Brief

Location:

Areas of tidal beach SE of the town of Santa Clara in Sonora, Mexico

Goal:

To prevent the extirpation of the endemic Gulf grunion and the threatened Red Knot (roselaari) at this critically important migratory staging area.

Conservation Value:

Each spring for millennia a natural spectacle has taken place when the Colorado River forms a delta in the upper reaches of the Sea of Cortez and millions of endemic Gulf grunion sardines lay their eggs, providing a critical food resource for the red knot roselaari subspecies during its spring migration.  Up to 9,300 red knots have been seen at one time which represents 44 percent of the entire Red Knot roselaari  (Pacific) population.  This subspecies is classed as Threatened under Canada's Species At Risk Act.

Threats:

The spring occurrence of the Pacific red knot (C. canutus roselaari) in the Golfo de Santa Clara coincides with a very popular beach holiday in Mexico called Semana Santa (Holy Week).  Thousands of American and Mexican tourists flock to these beaches to camp, enjoy the beach, and party.  Trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles conduct races on the beach and in 2018 alone 6 people died and 16 were severely wounded.  People harvest thousands of grunions and there is very little oversight or regulation over what is considered an economic boon to the region.

Actions & Results:

In 2020, ICFC began supporting a group that began in 2018 when Pronatura Noroeste organized and trained a group of local women to begin an outreach campaign on  shorebirds and their conservation needs.  This enthusiastic group was self-named Las Pejerreinas or “Grunion Queens”.  Their campaign was launched during the 2019 Holy Week. The Pejerreinas set up a large white tent with interpretive displays; they wore light blue t-shirts to be identified easily on the beach-front as the guardians of the birds and grunions, and they patrolled 4 kilometers of beach (demarcated with with orange highway cones and yellow tape).  The campaign interacted with 32,000 beach-goers and the mostly unregulated activities. The aim of these dedicated women is to reduce the annual impacts and disturbance and to foster achange in attitudes toward shorebird conservation. Based upon their interviews and questionnaires the first year's campaign was highly successful.

Project Field Partner:

Pronatura Noroeste

Cost:

2020 budget (ICFC portion): US$15,000

Size of Area Involved:

Tidal beach front within a 10-km area SE of Santa Clara.

Gallery

Click to enlarge an image

demarcating the protected beach
modulo. foto de adriana hernandez alvarez copy
photo: Adriana Hernandez Alvarez)
observacion de aves. foto de Carolina Rodriguez
Spawning grunion sardines

In More Depth...

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