“Reserva Natural de San Quintín para Todos”

Terra Peninsular
Published: 27 September 2021
Last edited: 27 September 2021
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San Quintin Bay is one of the best-preserved coastal bays on the entire Pacific Coast of America. Since 2001, the civil association Terra Peninsular has focused its efforts on guaranteeing that the ecological value of this bay is maintained for the benefit of current and future communities.


Our goal is to guarantee the long-term protection of natural areas through a strategy that includes legal protection, adaptive habitat management, and continuous work with communities:


- We identify natural areas of great importance and apply the most appropriate management models to ensure their long-term protection.


- We carry out conservation actions in the protected areas: biological monitoring, surveillance programs, visitor services, infrastructure maintenance, and restoration.


- We promote the active participation of society through awareness-raising activities, events, festivals, and environmental education.





North America
Scale of implementation
Coastal desert
Desert ecosystems
Grassland ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Rocky reef / Rocky shore
Temperate grassland, savanna, shrubland
Coastal and marine spatial management
Fire management
Fisheries and aquaculture
Infrastructure maintenance
Land management
Legal & policy frameworks
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Peace and human security
Poaching and environmental crime
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Science and research
Standards/ certification
Terrestrial spatial planning
Waste management
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Inefficient management of financial resources
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Physical resource extraction
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 6: Sustainable management of aquatic living resources
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Sendai Framework
Target 1: Reduce global disaster mortality by 2030
Target 2: Reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030
Target 6: Enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with associations
Indirect through government
Indirect through legal actors
(I)NDC Submission


San Quintín, Baja California, Mexico
Show on Protected Planet


Our awareness and social participation strategy emphasize the importance of the human dimension to achieve long-term success in nature conservation. Its objective is achieved through advocacy, dialogue of knowledge, community participation, and self-management. It also functions as a bridge to reach agreements between the conservation vision and the social vision to show that both are compatible.  A fundamental part of the implementation of the strategy is education, the creation of relevant and valuable content, and the application of methodological tools that allow us to know and understand the opinions and perceptions of the communities that interact with the natural spaces.

We created the SQ Bird Festival as an opportunity to connect communities with their natural environment, an approach to the conservation work being done in the bay, and a space to promote bird watching as an activity with low environmental impact, which arouses curiosity and contributes to the knowledge of the communities.


Families, children, schools, local authorities, local artists, the scientific community, and the general public

How do the building blocks interact?

Terra Peninsular's conservation projects will always work in a cross-cutting practice between programs and never independently of them, seeking a logical sequence that connects one program with another, thus maximizing the Organization's conservation successes. Some examples of how the three actions have been successfully carried out were when we rediscovered a species that was thought to be extinct for more than 30 years, the San Quintín kangaroo rat (Dipodomys gravipes). We achieved this together with the SD Natural History Museum. Another example is the "La playa es de todos" campaign, which aims to protect the snowy plover bird in its breeding season. To date, it has managed to preserve four breeding seasons of the snowy plover. For this, key allies joined, including Pacifica at Ensenada, to represent the real estate industry. As part of the campaign, environmental education events, beach cleanups, and the creation of outreach materials have been implemented and the involvement of volunteers and students. We have valued the achievements of implementing management actions and awareness actions, which takes us to the next level to apply the legal protection action in ensuring the conservation of the snowy plover in this area. 


  • In collaboration with research centers and other civil society organizations, we canceled the Cabo San Quintin mega tourism project, threatening the bay's natural system.
  • 5 concessions were obtained for conservation purposes in San Quintín (SQ), 32 ha of wetlands and coastal areas.
  • 6 native plant species of Baja California were included in the list of threatened or endangered species in the Mexican Official Standard.
  • Creation of the Punta Mazo nature reserve in SQ through the acquisition of 832 ha.
  • The coalition for the protection of  San Quintín Bay (SQB) is made.
  • SQB becomes part of the Wetlands of International Importance list in the Ramsar Convention and is designated as a WHSRN
  • Punta Mazo Nature Reserve was certified as an Area Voluntarily Destinated for Conservation (AVDC). 
  • The Monte Ceniza nature reserve was certified as AVDC. Obtained 14 Destination Agreements figuring over 1500 ha of wetlands and coastal areas in SQ. 
  • Through collaboration with the SDNHM, we rediscovered the SQ kangaroo rat. A rodent thought to be extinct for over 30 years. 
  • We received the Partners in flight award to recognize the community design of the Bird Festival and bird conservation projects.
  • We participated in the San Quintín Nature Reserve certification. 



Terra Peninsular

When I arrived in Ensenada, the port inhabitants spoke to me of San Quintín as a lonely and sad town, something like Juan Rulfo's Comala, a place ruled by wind and ghosts.  I had to see it with my own eyes to discover that those images could not be further from reality. Once you venture out into the bay, everything is transformed. A few meters from the Transpeninsular, the twelve volcanic cones and the sea mist embrace you tightly and welcome you to a wild and misunderstood paradise. It wasn't until 2020, the year of the global pandemic, that for the first time, I was able to live for a week in the Punta Mazo Nature Reserve and was the happiest woman on earth. Our mission was to be park rangers to understand the issues facing San Quintin.  Each sunrise and sunset was unique; the texture of the blind and its colors would never be the same again. As we walked the sandbar and did clean-ups, we observed the perfect flight of the snowy plover and least tern. We learned that the scrub and dunes were not simple mounds of sand or grass but a complex and delicate home. Here inhabit plants that can only be found in this region: the everlasting evergreen, poetically and vitally named; my beloved sand verbena, a succulent with wet flowers that like to live in the dunes, in extreme conditions low water and high salinity. I was in the home of the Baja California Whiptail, a lizard with vibrant colors and design on the level with or even above Paris couture. The shells, as "windows to the past," remained in place as proof of the passage of hunter-fishermen who lived in these lands hundreds of years ago; the ornamental objects they made with abalone shells showed us that we have always found beauty in what surrounds us throughout the history of humanity. The Punta Mazo Nature Reserve was certified as a Conservation Area and covers 830 hectares of pure magic. Therefore, my heart breaks when I think of all the garbage we collected and reappeared the next day in the same place as if we had not cleaned anything. We only need to open our eyes a little to understand that the natural world is also our home and responsibility. We must treasure it and take care of it with gentleness because it is highly delicate to ensure its balance. I felt very fortunate to immerse myself in nature during that week, even though we were in the middle of a pandemic. There we felt safe and free. We need to spend a little time contemplating the miracle that is this planet.

Contributed by

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César Guerrero Terra Peninsular A.C.