Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mexican Government Endangers Migratory Bird Populations

The Mexican Government, as of February 11th 2008, is permitting the industrial development of Laguna de Cuyutlan in Colima, Mexico, the fourth largest mangrove-lagoon wetland in the nation. This is the largest wetland in a span of 1150 kilometers along the Pacific coast of Mexico. This lagoon is on the principal western migratory corridor for 89 species of water/shorebirds, 22 of which are at risk.

Construction of an access canal for LNG vessels will raise the concentration of salt and water levels in all parts of the lagoon system, which, in turn, will kill species of mangrove and fish not adapted to these new conditions. As a result, many species of amphibians, reptiles, mammals and invertebrates will lose their habitat. The previous and ongoing local uses of the area; salt extraction, fishery and some sewage and pesticide runoff, have been shown to have had no adverse effect on this vital habitat.

The Mexican Government signed, in 1993, with the United States and Canada, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), which obliges each signatory to respect the environmental laws of the other two countries, and to "increase co-operation between the Parties to better preserve protect and enhance the environment, including wild flora and fauna."

In February the environmental organization Bios Iguana brought a case under the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to challenge the Mexican Government's action.

BiosIguana asks that journalists and conservationists assist in focusing international public attention on this grave situation. At this point, the government has authorized the developer to begin construction, and although Mexican law requires that all mangroves receive protection, there has been no scientific demonstration that these species will be unaffected. For more information: Esperanza Salazar Zenil

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