Guadalupe Island, with a total land area of 80,000 acres, is one of the most remote islands of Mexico. It also has one of the best preserved marine environments in the country. In 2007, the government decreed the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve. Since then, the Natural Protected Areas Commission has protected the island’s natural resources. Guadalupe Island is a great example of cooperation between government and nonprofit entities to help an island ecosystem recover. (In 2000 and 2002, Seacology funded fences to keep invasive goats out of sensitive areas with endemic plant species. Goats have since been removed from the island.)
The island’s only community consists mostly of families who have been fishing for lobster and diving for abalone for decades. They must haul water on a rough road from a small spring 10 miles away, and their most urgent need is a water desalination plant. With Seacology’s help, the community will buy a desalinization system that can supply up to 3,000 gallons per day. The water supply could also support reforestation and restoration, particularly in the remaining patches of endemic forest.
In exchange, the community will create and protect a 1,235-acre marine reserve. Reserve rules prohibit fishing, extraction of resources, damage to the sea floor, contamination, and any other kind of damage for 10 years.