Guadalupe Island

January 2010

Conservation benefit: Sea water desalination system
Community benefit: 1,235-acre marine reserve for 10 years

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, and since then the Natural Protected Areas Commission has protected the island’s natural resources. Guadalupe Island is one of the best examples in the world 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 eradicated 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 able to 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. Fishing, extraction of resources, damage to the sea floor, contamination or any other kind of damage is forbidden for 10 years.

Full or partial funding for this project provided by
Project Updates
February 2014
The desalination plant continues to operate smoothly, providing reliable fresh water for cooking and cleaning (seawater is used for toilets). The availability of water has improved life on the...
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February 2013
The desalination system has been providing needed water for the community that in the past had to haul water on a rough road from a small spring 10 miles from town. The fishers’ cooperative has...
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January 2012
The desalination plant is working and the community is obtaining fresh water. The marine area to be protected will be enforced with the assistance of the managers from the Isla Guadalupe Natural...
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June 2011
The desalination plant was pre-assembled in April 2011 and sent to the island on April 15 on a Navy boat. The building that will hold the plant is ready. The technicians from the desalination...
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September 2010
Field representative Jose Angel Sanchez-Pacheco reports that the Guadalupe Island cooperative has received the environmental impact assessment to install and operate the plant and expect to have...
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May 2010
Field representative Jose Angel Sanchez-Pacheco reports that the process to be able to install and operate the desalination system on the island needs permits and a study for Environmental Impact...
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Berkeley, CA 94707 USA

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