In December 2016, the Sonoran Joint Venture Management Board met in Ensenada, Baja California. Hosted by the Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education (CICESE), the two-day meeting was an opportunity for board members to discuss current business, learn about the work of SJV partners, and visit a field site where partners are working to protect birds and habitats.

The Board, which is made up of binational representatives from both the U.S. and Mexico, provides strategic guidance, leadership, and support to the Sonoran Joint Venture. It includes representatives from federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and academia, with space for private citizens and others with an interest in the conservation of birds and habitats within the SJV region. (For a full list of members, click here.)

A few highlights from the meeting:

  1. Federico Méndez Sánchez shared the tremendous work of Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas (GECI) to restore Mexico’s islands and monitor seabird populations. At the recent IUCN World Conservation Congress, GECI committed to removing all invasive mammals from all islands in Mexico by 2030.
  2. ESSA (Exportadora de Sal), one of the main producers and providers of industrial salt in the Pacific, provided details about their efforts to conserve birds including Snowy Plover (a priority species for the SJV) on their properties in Baja California Sur. The SJV hopes to work with ESSA and other like-minded industry representatives in the future to find common ground and support bird and habitat conservation.
  3. The Board learned about the latest work of long-time SJV partner Pronatura Noroeste, including efforts to catalog areas of importance for marine birds, monitoring endemic birds on Islas Marias, launching a regional conservation strategy for priority wetlands, working with ranchers on grassland management that benefits both birds and ranching, and working with land managers to improve forestry practices in support of biodiversity.
  4. Intermountain Bird Observatory Research Director Jay Carlisle migrated south to the SJV to share exciting news about Long-billed Curlews.

The Board spent a morning exploring Punta Banda, a wetland of high importance for birds like Sanderling and other shorebirds, Black Brant, and many others.

Following the board meeting, the SJV Science Working Group (formerly called the Technical Committee) met in Sierra San Pedro Mártir. They visited Parque Nacional Sierra San Pedro Mártir and learned from park director Gonzalo de Leon and his staff about efforts to reintroduce California Condors to Baja. This successful collaboration between CONANP, the San Diego Zoo, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has resulted in 39 condors now gracing the skies of Baja California.

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