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Isla Alcatraz Program

Project Description

Isla Alcatraz is a small island, located 1.4 km offshore of the town of Bahía Kino, Sonora, Mexico. In 1999, Prescott College, in collaboration with CONANP: APFF Islas del Golfo de California, began a 5-year program to gather baseline information about the island. This included both ecological and human use inventories and information on the vegetation communities, ichthyofauna, marine invertebrates, marine algae, mammals, nesting cormorants and wading birds, and offshore and on-shore human use of the island. These data were analyzed to develop a management plan for the island and submitted to CONANP in 2005. Subsequent ongoing monitoring of the nesting bird populations has occurred, resulting in three publications (Duberstein et al. 2005, Pfister et al. 2006, Galvan 2007). Prescott College has been the only organization monitoring these waterbird populations for the past 11 years. Due to the relatively large amount of information known about Isla Alcatraz and its proximity to shore and the community of Bahía Kino, Isla Alcatraz is a classroom, case study, and model for island conservation and management in the Gulf of California. All studies on Isla Alcatraz are done in collaboration with CONANP. 

Project Results

Continued monitoring and directed studies have found 14 species of nesting waterbirds on Isla Alcatraz, including the largest known nesting colony in the eastern Midriff Islands of the federally protected Craveri’s Murrelet, listed as endangered under NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010. The two principle groups of people using the island were tourists and fishermen. The non-native house mouse (Mus musculus) was found to exist on the island, over forty species of plants were recorded, a vegetation community map was generated using GIS and the presence of the fish-eating bat Myotis Vivesi was confirmed. All data were analyzed and included in a management plan solicited by and submitted to CONANP: APFF Islas del Golfo de California. The Kino Bay Center Environmental Education Program, in collaboration with CONANP, facilitates annual environmental education activities in the fifth and sixth grade classrooms of Bahia Kino to raise awareness about the island’s ecological and social importance and to promote citizen participation in island conservation. 

Reports & Publications

  1. Reporte de proyectos de investigación en el Área de Protección deFlora y Fauna Islas del Golfo de California (2010-11). Centro de Estudios Culturales y Ecológicos Prescott College A. C., Bahía Kino, Sonora
  2. Reporte de proyectos de investigación en el Área de Protección deFlora y Fauna Islas del Golfo de California (2010-11). Centro de Estudios Culturales y Ecológicos Prescott College A. C., Bahía Kino, Sonora
  3. Reporte de proyectos de investigación en el Area de Proteccion de Flora y Fauna Islas del Golfo de California (2009-2010), Centro de Estudios Culturales y Ecológicos Prescott College A. C., Bahía Kino, Sonora
  4. Galván, J. P. (2007). California Brown Pelican Nesting on Isla Alcatraz, Sonora, Mexico. Western Birds, 38, 296-298. 
  5. Pfister, T., Pfister, B., Jiménez-Serranía, V., de-Pedro-Díaz, D., Suárez-Gracida, G., & Duberstein, J. N. (2005). Assessment of the nesting population of Double-crested Cormorants Phalacrocorax auritus albociliatus on Isla Alcatraz, Gulf of California, Mexico. Marine Ornithology 33, 195–197
  6. Prescott College, A. C. (2005). Programa de Conservación y Manejo Área de Protecion de Flora y Fauna de Isla Alcatraz. Prescott College. Bahia Kino, Sonora, Mexico.
  7. Meltzer, L., & Pfister, T. (2004, June 2004). An Integrated Approach to the Management of Alcatraz Island, Sonora, Mexico. Paper presented at the Gulf of California Conference (2004). Tucson, Arizona.