Undersea Volcanoes & Their CommunitiesLatest update August 1, 2017 Started on August 1, 2017
The uncontrolled growth of desalination plants in the San Quintín Lagoon Complex is a concern to the marine ecosystem’s health. Due to that, we want to perform an ecological assessment in these ecosystems to implement protective measures
Terra Peninsular is a Mexican non-profit organization dedicated to environmental conservation in Baja California that was founded in 2001 in Ensenada by a group of conservationists and scientists concerned about protecting and conserving the natural ecosystems and wildlife of the peninsula of Baja California.
More than 17 years after its founding, Terra Peninsular has managed to position itself as one of the leading civil associations in Baja California in terms of habitat protection, adaptive management, and community engagement.
Aware that the flora, fauna and landscapes that we have in the peninsula are unique in the world and of global importance to many species, our conservation efforts have a solid scientific basis to ensure that future generations can enjoy this natural heritage.
The San Quintín Lagoon Complex (SQLC) is a vital ecosystem for several birds and terrestrial and marine biota. The SQLC is a RAMSAR site (Wetland of International Importance), a WHSRN site (Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network), and an IBA (Important Bird Area). Despite its high ecological significance, the SQLC is vulnerable to different threats, including several poorly-planned water desalination plants. One example of this is the Kenton seawater desalination plant (KSDP), which was approved for construction near to the SQLC without any detailed study or assessment of the environmental impact of its construction and operation. The KSDP will release 350 liters of wastewater per second into the ocean (including numerous chemicals, variable pH and salinity, and a temperature higher than the average in the seawater). Specifically, this could have irreversible impacts on the biota of the ecosystems close to the intertidal and subtidal zone. There is a major alarm because the intertidal and subtidal zone are home to several species, including species with ecological relevance, and target species, such as lobsters, octopuses, and sea urchins. Therefore, it is imperative to realize an ecological assessment in these ecosystems to implement preventive and protective measures in the area.
To date, we have carried out monitoring in the intertidal zone using transects parallel to the coast. In addition, we will monitor the subtidal zone using video-transect approaches by scuba diving, but this would be limited due to depth, while, with help of a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), we can dive for longer periods of time and in greater depths. The aim of this project is to perform a permanent monitoring in the area, searching for possible impacts caused by the Kenton seawater desalination plant.
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