Nesting waterbird surveys in Esteros Laguna La Cruz, Cardonal, Tastiota, and Santa Rosa

Project Description

Wetlands provide critical habitat for waterbirds, including the only nesting habitat for certain species in northwestern Mexico, such as the Clapper Rail (Rallus crepitans), Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis), and Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja). These coastal wetlands are increasingly threatened by coastal development for tourism and aquaculture. Almost no prior work to document nesting species has occurred. Protecting areas critical for reproduction is a key part of any conservation strategy. Further documentation and quantification of nesting species is essential for the conservation of these estuaries and the protection of future generations of regional waterbird and fisheries populations.

Project Results

Of the 20 species of waterbirds that have been found nesting on the Hermosillo coast, 6 are listed as Protected, Threatened, or Endangered on NOM-059-Semarnat-2010 and 10 are classified as species of concern either on a continental or regional scale (for wetlands within the Arid Borderlands region by the SJV). With the multifaceted threat from aquaculture, many of these species have uncertain futures in the region. The true impact of shrimp aquaculture development will never be known because of the lack of surveys before the farms were installed. Roughly only 800 hectares of salt flat habitat remain undeveloped on the Hermosillo coast, representing about 25% of the 3000 hectares of salt flats that existed 20 years ago. Increased conservation efforts, especially by local organizations, are critical to protect these nesting species and the habitats upon which they rely.

Reports & Publications

  1. Least Tern Nest Monitoring at Estero Cardonal (2011)
  2. Research and Conservation Program Report (2007-2011). Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies 
  3. Nesting Waterbirds along the Hermosillo Coast: Estero Santa Cruz, Estero Cardonal and Estero Tastiota
  4. Nesting Least Tern at Estero Tastiota and the “Obras de Dragado en el Estero Tastiota, Municpio De Hermosillo, Sonora”: A current and serious threat to an endangered species