In 2014, the Loreto COASTKEEPER initiative became fully operational with the help of our advisory scientist, Chuck Mitchell, and the efforts of Hector Trinidad and Alex Estrada. The water-monitoring program of the beaches in and around Loreto was established to better inform the public about clean swimmable beaches.
Bi-monthly samples are taken at 12 separate beaches, processed in the Eco-Alianza laboratory, and the results are posted on the Eco-Alianza website, Facebook page and the WATERKEEPER Swim Guide App for smart phones and tablets. This initiative joins Eco-Alianza with 222 worldwide members, as well as the Baja WATERKEEPER Alliance.
Environmental Celebration Days
Each year Eco-Alianza sponsors and participates in Earth Day, World Water Day, World Ocean Day and Conservation Week. These celebrations bring to light the hard work that has been accomplished around the globe, and bring focus to innovative practices to protect our future.
Year-round initiatives of Eco-Alianza continue to address challenges to the environment. Progress was made in each of the following three areas in 2014, and we look to expanding our success in 2015
Environmental Leadership Club
“Discovering the Treasures of Nature,” and the “Environmental Leadership Club,” inspire Loreto youth in the classroom and in the field to become future conservation leaders and stewards of their environment.
Campaign for a Clean Loreto
(“I want a Clean Loreto”)
The goal of this campaign is to stop the pollution of the Bay of Loreto National Park by promoting the reduction, utilization and proper management of solid waste in the municipality of Loreto, in collaboration with educational institutions, organizations, businesses and local government.
Loreto’s Watershed Conservation Campaign
The focus of the Loreto Watershed Conservation Campaign is to educate the community about the importance of protecting our water resources through water conservation and local land management strategies to protect the source of our drinking water in the sierras. Eco-Alianza supports policies, strategies and activities to manage freshwater as a sustainable resource to assure secure and safe water supplies for the community and environment and future generations.
We have continued to expand the depth and breadth of our environmental education program for Loreto’s youth – offered at no charge to the students – with great success. Child by child we are building a team of environmental stewards who will guide the next generation in the care and support of local resources. In 2014 over 80 children aged 8-12 learned about interactions of the land and sea, saw whales up close and personal, explored the island waters in kayaks, listened to selected readings, and applied their newly found knowledge through inter-active learning sessions.
In the coming year, in collaboration with PROBEA (Bio-regional Environmental Education Project) and the Natural History Museum of San Diego, our environmental education program will expand to include training local teachers to utilize our curriculum within the Loreto school system. PROBEA’s mission is: “To educate teachers and community workers to become environmental stewards; strengthen communities through training and active involvement in our bioregion; and build relationships between neighbors through sharing ideas and resources.”
Eco-Alianza signed an agreement in February, 2014, with the Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto to collaborate for mutual benefit. We work with park managers and local fishermen to coordinate, monitor and observe activities within the park, with a mission to promote conservation through education and training. The ultimate goal is to empower fishermen and other users of the park to take care of fisheries resources to achieve high marine productivity and biodiversity.
Eco-Alianza’s team has developed resource pamphlets available this December. Printed on high quality waterproof paper, the brochures provide directions and tips for protecting the park.
Five brochures and pamphlets include:
• Know and accomplish the rules of Bay of Loreto National Park
• Sport fishing regulations
• Fish identification guide
• Tourism user guide
• Guide to general regulations for commercial fishing
• Guidelines for legal fishing for responsible consumption
These booklets are available free of charge at the Park Service office, CenCoMA, and select eco-tour guide offices.
Community Center for the Environment CenCoMA
Dedicated in the fall of 2013, CenCoMA established a new and permanent headquarters for Eco-Alianza. This strategically located center has become a unique venue for the entire Loreto community. CenCoMA has provided space for the expansion of its programs, as well as increasing visibility and services to the general public.
In 2014, staff offices and the COASTKEEPER laboratory were completed, enhanced audio/visual systems were installed, and additional computer equipment was added. CenCoMA has become a resource for meetings of conservation groups, government agencies, and academic institutions in an on-going effort to promote environmental sustainability.
Eco-Alianza continues to explore and provide educational practices in support of the growth of responsible artisanal fisheries in Loreto. Projects are focused on strengthening the capacity of local fishers through technical assistance. This contributes to employment, health of the marine ecosystems, and the integrity of the fishing communities. To achieve this goal, the project is focused on strengthening capacities of local fishers through technical assistance so fishers can implement actions to promote sustainable fisheries.
The community of Loreto and the members of Eco-Alianza are grateful for the support of our many generous donors and volunteers who have joined together with us as “Amigos de Eco-Alianza” in their commitment to protect the coastal, marine and terrestrial ecosystems of the Loreto region and our mission to build a sustainable future for generations to come.