Baja California Pacific Islands

Panoramic view of Coronado Islands. (JA Soriano/Conservación de Islas)

In January 2012, funding was awarded to organizations from the U.S. and Mexico, including the National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas (GECI), and the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature to complete a $4M five-year program on the Baja California Pacific Islands. This is a joint project between the MSRP and Luckenbach Trustee Councils.

Restoration activities include using social attraction techniques (including decoys and vocalizations), improving nesting opportunities with artificial nests, shielding lights, and reducing human disturbance. The target species for restoration on these islands are Brandt’s Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, California Brown Pelican, Western Gull, Cassin’s Auklet, Ashy Storm-Petrel, Black Storm-Petrel, and Scripps’s Murrelet.

Baja Pacific Island Project Updates

Habitat Restoration and Biological Monitoring-Baja California Pacific Islands

During the second year of restoration (2014), biologists conducted projects on seven different island groups to restore nesting and roosting seabirds on the islands. The projects completed include:

1) Monitoring

  • Second year monitoring of seabird populations (e.g., productivity, population estimates, predator relationships)
  • Monitoring seabird interactions with social attraction systems (e.g., decoys, nestboxes, and sound broadcast)

2) Social Attraction Techniques

  • Installation of decoys and/or sound systems for Brandt’s Cormorants, Heermann’s Gulls, Elegant Terns, and Cassin’s Auklets on four islands
  • Installation of approximately 40 nestboxes on four islands

3) Removal of non-native ice plant from seabird nesting areas on several islands

Kids playing conservation game in a classroom. (Conservación de Islas)

4) Environmental Education

  • Completed a series of presentations about seabirds for military personnel that are stationed on Coronado Sur Island
  • GECI staff participated in an Environmental Culture Week reaching an estimated 1,300 people in the community of Guerrero Negro. Various activities were held throughout the week, including exhibition tables for the public to visit with hands-on activities relating to the islands, seabirds, and the threats seabirds face; and workshops that integrated art, culture and conservation