Pronatura Noroeste

San Luis Río Colorado, Mexico

Pronatura Noroeste

San Luis Río Colorado, Mexico
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Dominguez-Contreras J.F.,Autonomous University of Baja California Sur | Dominguez-Contreras J.F.,National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico | Munguia-Vega A.,University of Arizona | Castillo-Lopez A.,Pronatura Noroeste | And 4 more authors.
Marine Biodiversity | Year: 2017

We characterized a set of new hypervariable microsatellite loci for the barred sand-bass (Paralabrax nebulifer), a marine fish that supports important recreational and artisanal fisheries in California, USA and the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. We performed a shotgun genome sequencing with the 454 XL titanium chemistry and used bioinformatics to search for microsatellite loci with perfect repeats. We selected 40 primer pairs that were synthesized and genotyped in an ABI PRISM 3730XL DNA sequencer in 32 individuals from San Juanico, Baja California Sur. We estimated levels of genetic diversity, deviations from linkage and Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium, the frequency of null alleles and the probability of individual identity for the new markers. We successfully scored 24 microsatellite loci (13 tetranucleotides and 11 dinucleotides). The average number of alleles per locus was 12.5 (range 4–23). The average observed and expected heterozygosities were 0.779 (range 0.313–0.969) and 0.774 (range 0.350–0.939), respectively. We detected significant linkage disequilibrium in two pairs of loci. Genotype frequencies at seven loci showed significant deviations from the expectations of Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium and had estimated null allele frequencies ≥10%. The probability of individual identity for the new loci was 8.5−36. The new markers will be useful for investigating patterns of fine-scale genetic structure and diversity to estimate larval dispersal and assess metapopulation dynamics, information necessary for the sustainable management of P. nebulifer fisheries at the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula. © 2017 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


Ramirez-Hernandez J.,Autonomous University of Baja California | Hinojosa-Huerta O.,Pronatura Noroeste | Peregrina-Llanes M.,Autonomous University of Baja California | Calvo-Fonseca A.,Pronatura Noroeste | Carrera-Villa E.,Autonomous University of Baja California
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

Flow regulation and water diversion for irrigation have considerably affected the exchange of surface water between the Colorado River and its floodplains. However, the way in which both have impacted groundwater-surface water interactions is not completely understood. The objective of this study was to conduct a hydrologic analysis of the 2009-2010 winter flows released into the limitrophe region of the Colorado River in order to characterize the surface flows along this dry reach and, for the first time, study the impact of winter flows on the groundwater conditions in the area. The study used existing data on groundwater levels that was collected from regional piezometers on both sides of the limitrophe every five years from 1980 to 2005. Regional flow direction from NE to SW was observed in all years. A groundwater depression cone in the southwest part of the limitrophe was identified from 1980 to 1995. A general rise of groundwater levels was observed from 2000 to 2005 on both sides of the limitrophe, but during the same time period, a depression cone formed along the border between Arizona and Sonora, in the Mesa Arenosa on the Mexican side of the border. In order to identify the water table evolution within the limitrophe riparian zone, nine sets of piezometers were constructed in an arrangement perpendicular to the main river channel. Water table levels were measured automatically every 30min and were also manually measured periodically. Nine geohydrological cross sections were constructed using the topographic relief from LIDAR elevation points and depth to groundwater measurements during water discharges in the Colorado River channel at Morelos dam. Groundwater seepage from irrigation canals, irrigation returns, and river discharge flows were identified and the depth to groundwater and its influence on riparian vegetation was analyzed. A strong correlation between flow discharge (up to 60.49hm3 from November 2009 to April 2010) and groundwater elevation (average elevation change of 1.62m on January 22, 2010) in time and space was found. The percentage of water retained in the main river channel decreased from 100% in the first discharge event (December 12-13, 2009) to 36% after the last discharge event (April 9-17, 2010), due to remaining moisture in the unsaturated soil. The total volume of water retained, infiltrated, and evaporated, was 60% (36.6×106m3) of the total water discharged. The delay time of the groundwater front during a discharge event was on average 6:30, 20:06, and 28:53h from section 1 to section 2, 1-3, and 1-4 respectively. This historical study provides insight into how floods affect the groundwater system, which is the foundation for aquatic and riparian biodiversity. This issue is of increasing relevance given growing international interest in rehabilitating the riparian and aquatic ecosystems of the Colorado River delta through intentional flood releases. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Hinojosa-Huerta O.,Pronatura Noroeste | Soto-Montoya E.,Reserva de la Biosfera Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Rio Colorado | Gomez-Sapiens M.,University of Arizona | Calvo-Fonseca A.,Pronatura Noroeste | And 4 more authors.
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

The Ciénega de Santa Clara is the largest marsh in the Sonoran Desert and the most important wetland in the Colorado River delta. We present the information on the state of the birds in the Ciénega and a checklist of the species that have been detected at the site. We also summarize the ornithological work that has been conducted and compiled recommendations for bird conservation. A total of 261 species of birds have been detected in the Ciénega de Santa Clara, representing 71% of the species known to the Colorado River delta. The birds of the Ciénega include 189 migratory species (70.4%), 49 year-round residents (18.7%), and 28 breeding visitors (10.7%). Twenty-seven species are federally protected in Mexico, four of them as Endangered, eight as Threatened, and 15 under Special Protection. The Ciénega provides critical habitat for migratory waterbirds, with maximum counts of 280,000 shorebirds in the southern mudflats, as well as for breeding marsh birds, including Yuma Clapper Rails, Virginia Rails and California Black Rails, with maximum estimates of 8600, 7150 and 400 individuals respectively. Other species of concern that occur regularly in the Ciénega include Least Bittern, Snowy Plover, Least Tern, and Large-billed Savannah Sparrow. This wetland also provides important stopover habitat for 81 species of Neotropical migratory landbirds during their northbound spring migration, particularly for Wilson's Warbler, Swainson's Thrush, Yellow Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, and Willow Flycatcher. Binational cooperation is essential to protect the Ciénega in the long-term, especially in terms of dedicating the necessary water for its maintenance. Active management actions are also becoming an important part of habitat conservation, including land protection mechanisms, sediment removal, and fire management. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Hinojosa-Huerta O.,Pronatura Noroeste | Guzman-Olachea R.,Reserva de la Biosfera Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Rio Colorado | Butron-Mendez J.,Pronatura Noroeste | Butron-Rodriguez J.J.,Pronatura Noroeste | Calvo-Fonseca A.,Pronatura Noroeste
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

Populations of secretive marsh birds (Rallidae and Ardeidae) have declined in North America in the last decades. Despite drastic habitat changes, the Colorado River delta supports four species of protected marsh birds: California Black Rail, Virginia Rail, Least Bittern and Yuma Clapper Rail. Our goal was to assess the status (2010-2011) and detect population changes (1999-2011) of marsh birds in the Colorado River delta. This effort was focused on the Cienega de Santa Clara and the recent disturbance events that occurred in this wetland (changes in inflows, dredging and wildfires), but included other areas of the delta as well. The Cienega provides critical habitat for the four species, with estimated abundance of 405 California Black Rails, 7152 Virginia Rails, 8652 Least Bitterns and 8642 Yuma Clapper Rails. Populations of these species have remained stable since 1999, with no significant trend, although with some fluctuations in some years. Other wetlands in the delta also provide important habitat, especially El Doctor Wetlands for California Black Rails and Virginia Rails, the Hardy and Colorado rivers for Yuma Clapper Rails and Least Bitterns, and Laguna del Indio for Yuma Clapper Rails. The detections of marsh birds in 2011 were amongst the highest since the monitoring program began in 1999. This was probably linked to the disturbance regime that was recreated with a series of events in the Cienega, including the dredging of sediment, variations of inflows, and an extensive wildfire. Wetlands in the Colorado River delta support the majority of breeding Yuma clapper rails and important populations of other marsh birds. As these are shared species by México and the U.S., the conservation and restoration of the delta should be a shared responsibility. Las poblaciones de las aves de marisma (Rallidae y Ardeidae) han disminuido en Norte América en las últimas décadas. A pesar de cambios drásticos de hábitat, el delta del Río Colorado mantiene a cuatro especies de aves de marisma protegidas: Ralito Negro de California, Rascón Limícola, Garcita de Tular y Palmoteador de Yuma. Nuestro propósito fue evaluar el estatus (2010-2011) y detectar cambios poblacionales (1999-2011) en las aves de marisma en el delta. Este esfuerzo se enfocó en la Ciénega de Santa Clara y los disturbios recientes que ocurrieron en este humedal (variación en flujos, dragados e incendios), pero también se incluyeron otras áreas del delta. La Ciénega provee hábitat crítico para las cuatro especies, con una abundancia estimada de 405 Ralitos Negros, 7152 Rascones Limícolas, 8652 Garcitas de Tular y 8642 Palmoteadores de Yuma. Las poblaciones de estas especies se han mantenido estables desde 1999, aunque con algunas fluctuaciones en algunos años. Otros humedales también proveen hábitat importante, especialmente El Doctor para Ralito Negro y Rascón Limícola, los ríos Hardy y Colorado para Palmoteador de Yuma y Garcita de Tular, y Laguna del Indio para Palmoteador de Yuma. Las detecciones de aves de marisma en el 2011 estuvieron entre las más altas desde que el programa inició en 1999. Este probablemente esté ligado al régimen de disturbio que fue recreado con una serie de eventos en la Ciénega, incluyendo el dragado de sedimentos, variaciones en los flujos, y un incendio. El delta del Río Colorado mantiene a la población más grande de Palmoteador de Yuma, así como poblaciones importantes de otras aves de marisma. Estas son especies compartidas por México y Estados Unidos, por lo que la conservación y restauración de estos humedales debe ser una responsabilidad compartida. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Hinojosa-Huerta O.,Pronatura Noroeste | Nagler P.L.,U.S. Geological Survey | Carrillo-Guererro Y.K.,University of Arizona | Glenn E.P.,University of Arizona
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

The riparian corridor in the delta of the Colorado River in Mexico supports internationally important bird habitat. The vegetation is maintained by surface flows from the U.S. and Mexico and by a high, non-saline aquifer into which the dominant phreatophytic shrubs and trees are rooted. We studied the effects of a regional drought on riparian vegetation and avian abundance and diversity from 2002 to 2007, during which time surface flows were markedly reduced compared to the period from 1995 to 2002. Reduced surface flows led to a reduction in native tree cover but an increase in shrub cover, mostly due to an increase in Tamarix spp., an introduced halophytic shrub, and a reduction in Populus fremontii and Salix gooddingii trees. However, overall vegetation cover was unchanged at about 70%. Overall bird density and diversity were also unchanged, but riparian-obligate species tended to decrease in abundance, and generalist species increased. Although reduction in surface flows reduced habitat value and negatively impacted riparian-obligate bird species, portions of the riparian zone exhibited resilience. Surface flows are required to reduce soil salt levels and germinate new cohorts of native trees, but the main source of water supporting this ecosystem is the aquifer, derived from underflows from irrigated fields in the U.S. and Mexico. The long-term prospects for delta riparian habitats are uncertain due to expected reduced flows of river water from climate change, and land use practices that will reduce underflows to the riparian aquifer and increase salinity levels. Active restoration programs would be needed if these habitats are to be preserved for the future. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Hinojosa-Huerta O.,Pronatura Noroeste | Nagler P.L.,U.S. Geological Survey | Carrillo-Guererro Y.K.,University of Arizona | Glenn E.P.,University of Arizona
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

The riparian corridor in the delta of the Colorado River in Mexico supports internationally important bird habitat. The vegetation is maintained by surface flows from the U.S. and Mexico and by a high, non-saline aquifer into which the dominant phreatophytic shrubs and trees are rooted. We studied the effects of a regional drought on riparian vegetation and avian abundance and diversity from 2002 to 2007, during which time surface flows were markedly reduced compared to the period from 1995 to 2002. Reduced surface flows led to a reduction in native tree cover but an increase in shrub cover, mostly due to an increase in saltcedar (Tamarix spp.), an introduced halophytic shrub, and a reduction in cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and willow (Salix gooddingii) trees. However, overall vegetation cover was unchanged at about 70%. Overall bird density and diversity were also unchanged, but riparian-obligate species tended to decrease in abundance, and generalist species increased. Although reduction in surface flows reduced habitat value and negatively impacted riparian-obligate bird species, portions of the riparian zone exhibited resilience. Surface flows are required to reduce soil salt levels and germinate new cohorts of native trees, but the main source of water supporting this ecosystem is the aquifer, derived from underflows from irrigated fields in the U.S. and Mexico. The long-term prospects for delta riparian habitats are uncertain due to expected reduced flows of river water from climate change, and land use practices that will reduce underflows to the riparian aquifer and increase salinity levels. Active restoration programs would be needed if these habitats are to be preserved for the future. El corredor ripario en el delta del río Colorado en México contiene hábitat para aves de importancia internacional. La vegetación se mantiene con flujos superficiales de E.U. y México y por un acuífero somero de baja salinidad al cual llegan las raíces de los arbustos y árboles freatofíticos. Estudiamos los efectos de una sequía regional sobre la vegetación riparia y la abundancia y diversidad de aves entre el 2002 y 2007, periodo en el que los flujos superficiales se redujeron drásticamente, en comparación con el periodo entre 1995-2002. La reducción de flujos superficiales causó la reducción en cobertura de árboles nativos y un incremento en la cobertura de arbustos, principalmente por el aumento de Tamarix spp., un arbusto halófito introducido, y por la pérdida de Populus fremontii y Salix gooddingii. Sin embargo, la cobertura vegetal se mantuvo sin cambio, en cerca de 70%. La densidad y diversidad de aves también se mantuvo, pero la abundancia de especies riparias descendió, mientras que las especies generalistas aumentaron. Aunque la reducción en flujos superficiales redujo el valor de hábitat y afectó negativamente a las aves riparias, algunas porciones de la zona exhibieron resiliencia. Los flujos superficiales se requieren para reducir la salinidad en el suelo y para la germinación de nuevos cohortes de árboles nativos, pero la principal fuente de agua para este ecosistema es el acuífero, derivado de los flujos subterráneos que provienen de la irrigación agrícola en E.U. y México. La expectativa para los hábitats riparios en el delta es incierta debido a que se espera una reducción en los flujos superficiales a causa del cambio climático, y por las prácticas que reducirán los flujos subterráneos y aumentarán la salinidad. Para poder preservar estos hábitats hacia el futuro se requiere la implementación de programas de restauración activa. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Cinti A.,University of Arizona | Cinti A.,CONICET | Duberstein J.N.,University of Arizona | Torreblanca E.,Pronatura Noroeste | Moreno-Baez M.,University of Arizona
Ecology and Society | Year: 2014

Institutions play an important role in shaping individual incentives in complex social-ecological systems, by encouraging or discouraging resource overuse. In the Gulf of California, Mexico, there is widespread evidence of declines in small-scale fishery stocks, largely attributed to policy failures. We investigated formal and informal rules-in-use regulating access and resource use by small-scale fishers in the two most important fishing communities of the Midriff Islands region in the Gulf of California, which share several target species and fishing grounds. The Midriff Islands region is a highly productive area where sustainable use of fisheries resources has been elusive. Our study aimed to inform policy by providing information on how management and conservation policies perform in this unique environment. In addition, we contrast attributes of the enabling conditions for sustainability on the commons in an effort to better understand why these communities, albeit showing several contrasting attributes of the above conditions, have not developed sustainable fishing practices. We take a novel, comprehensive institutional approach that includes formal and informal institutions, incorporating links between land (i.e., communal land rights) and sea institutions (i.e., fisheries and conservation policies) and their effects on stewardship of fishery resources, a theme that is practically unaddressed in the literature. Insufficient government support in provision of secure rights, enforcement and sanctioning, and recognition and incorporation of local arrangements and capacities for management arose as important needs to address in both cases. We highlight the critical role of higher levels of governance, that when disconnected from local practices, realities, and needs, can be a major impediment to achieving sustainability in small-scale fisheries, even in cases where several facilitating conditions are met. © 2014 by the author(s).


Carrillo-Guerrero Y.K.,University of Arizona | Flessa K.,University of Arizona | Hinojosa-Huerta O.,Pronatura Noroeste | Lopez-Hoffman L.,University of Arizona
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

The 1977 creation of the Cienega de Santa Clara, an 18,000. ha wetland (6500. ha cattail marsh with 11,500. ha of open water lagoons and mudflats) in Sonora, Mexico, was the unintended consequence of the solution to reduce the salinity of the U.S. water deliveries to Mexico. Under the 1944 Water Treaty, the U.S. was obliged to deliver water to Mexico. But the water that was delivered from the U.S. harmed crops in Mexico because it included brackish agricultural runoff from fields in the Lower Colorado River basin. In 1972, Minute 242 to the Treaty called for a reduction in the salinity of U.S. deliveries. As a result, the U.S. diverted the agricultural runoff to a desiccated Colorado Delta floodplain in Sonora, Mexico, inadvertently creating the Cienega de Santa Clara, a wetland that now provides habitat for protected species (Desert Pupfish and the Yuma Clapper Rail), and wintering grounds for more than 200,000 migratory waterbirds. In June 1993, the wetland became part of Mexico's Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve. The Yuma Desalting Plant, completed in 1992, was constructed by the U.S. to desalinate the agricultural runoff that flows to the Cienega. The high cost of operation and abundant Colorado River flow have kept the plant idle. However, the past decade of drought in the Colorado Basin has now made the agricultural runoff a valuable resource to meet growing U.S. water demands, but operating the plant could risk damage to the Cienega wetlands. In response, a binational collaboration of government agencies, environmental groups and university scientists began working together to protect and study this wetland. Replacement flows and environmental monitoring during the 2010-2011 trial run of the Yuma Desalting Plant are prompting a shift from passive to active management of this binational ecosystem. The purpose of this paper is to identify management practices that could help maximize the ecological benefits of water flows. The suggested management practices are based on historical variations in quantity, timing and quality of inflows, occasional dredgings and wildfires. The most important management recommendation is a formal allocation of water of adequate volume and quality. The agreement reached in 2010s Minute 316 to the Treaty is a precedent for successful efforts to protect shared ecosystems along the U.S.-Mexico border. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Mexicano L.,University of Arizona | Glenn E.P.,University of Arizona | Hinojosa-Huerta O.,Pronatura Noroeste | Garcia-Hernandez J.,Research Center en Alimentacion y Desarrollo | And 2 more authors.
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

The Ciénega of Santa Clara is a valuable coastal wetland sustained almost entirely by discharge of brackish agricultural drain water from the U.S. and Mexico. In other locations, agricultural drain water has been problematic in supporting wetlands due to problems of salinity buildup, toxic substances and undesirable plant succession processes. We studied the development of the Cienega de Santa Clara from its creation in 1977 to the present to determine if it is on a sustainable trajectory in terms of vegetation, hydrology and habitat value. We used Landsat NDVI imagery from 1975 to 2011 to determine the area and intensity of vegetation and to estimate evapotranspiration (ET) to construct a water balance. Remote sensing data were combined with hydrological data, site surveys and other sources of information on the Cienega. The vegetated area increased from 1978 to 1995 and has been constant at about 4200ha since then. The dominant vegetation type is Typha domingensis (southern cattail), and peak summer NDVI since 1995 has been stable at 0.379 (SD=0.016), about half of NDVIMax. Flows into the marsh have been stable both month-to-month and year-to-year, with a mean annual value of 4.74m3s-1 (SD=1.03). Salinity has been stable with a mean value of 2.09gL-1 TDS (SD=0.13). About 37% of the inflow water is consumed in ET, with the remainder exiting the Cienega as outflow water, mainly during winter months when T. domingensis is dormant. The sustainability of the Cienega is attributed to: stable inflow rates; salinities within the tolerance limit of the dominant vegetation; and tidal flushing which maintains the wetland as an open system. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Carrillo-Guerrero Y.,University of Arizona | Glenn E.P.,University of Arizona | Hinojosa-Huerta O.,Pronatura Noroeste
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

In arid lands, wetland loss is the result not only of the scarcity of water itself, but also of the management of water to maximize off-stream uses. In the Colorado River delta, Mexico, no in-stream flows are allocated for aqutic ecocystems, yet agricultural return flows and canal operational releases support 36,377ha of valuable wetland and riparian habitat. We evaluated the relationships between water use in the Mexicali Irrigation District (DR014) and the water supply for the Colorado River delta wetlands. Mexicali farmers applied on average 1024mmyr-1 to fields in 2008, less than half of what is applied to irrigated fields in a typical irrigation district in the U.S. portion of the river. Farm-level agricultural efficiency is high, as 90% of water applied to fields can be accounted for in evapotranspiration (ET), as estimated by a remote sensing technique and by a district water budget approach. By contrast, in a comparison U.S. irrigation district, ET accounts for only 60% of applied water and the rest emerges as irrigation return flows. Despite the apparent high on-farm irrigation efficiency in DR014, sufficient water is discharged to support valuable ecosystems. Seepage losses from canals are higher than in the comparison district in the U.S., and this water contributes to formation of a high, non-saline aquifer that supported riparian trees along the river. On the other hand, surface drainage water supports brackish wetland habitats south of the irrigation district. The goal of obtaining water for environmental uses by increasing agricultural efficiency in the irrigation districts would not by itself be an effective strategy for the delta aquatic habitats as the delta wetlands and riparian areas are currently dependent on canal seepage, return flows and waste spills from both the U.S. and Mexico. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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