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................ ...Newsletter No. 74 - February/March, 2007
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Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends ~

At the onset of this coming nesting season, we must accomplish four important tasks. First, the nursery must be extended by seven feet, enlarged from 180 to 240 nests. Secondly, after locating a safe area on the beach, we need to construct a small chain-link fenced nursery. This nursery is designed to protect up to 60 late-season Olive Ridley and Leatherback nests from horse and quad-runner traffic as well as poachers. Thirdly, we need to find and obtain better thermometers to monitor nest temperatures. Finally, we must enlist extra volunteers to teach environmental education classes during the day, as well as working on the marine turtle programs at night.

No news on the fate of the December 18th and January 19th Leatherback nests. The December nest should have hatched on March 15th, while the January nest should hatch on April 15th.

So, why no water? Except for pockets of sand (an aquifer), or fissures (large cracks in the underground rock), there is very little water beneath the surface that can be utilized. While observing the construction of a deep well, I noticed that unlike most bedrock (i.e. granite, limestone, sandstone or some volcanic rock that generally decomposes into sand), the local bedrock, when decomposing, creates a thick layer of clay that obstructs the flow of underground water. In other words, if the bottom of the well is not set in sand or a fissure, chances of finding sustainable water is nil in this costal area.

To compound the problem, San Pancho’s water supply originates entirely from isolated thunderstorms. Although the rain can be heavy at times, the storms are, for the most part, short-lived and unpredictable. Thus, the amounts of rain received within our four-month rainy season, (mid-June through mid-October) can vary between drought to flooding. Given the unpredictable nature of these thunderstorms, a neighboring community such as Sayulita could receive heavy rain for weeks while San Pancho would receive relatively little.

Taking into account the problem of clay restricting the movement of underground water and unpredictable seasonal rainfall, you would think that the community would do everything possible to protect their source of water supply. Sadly, despite our concerns today, we are not willing to protect our source of water. Meanwhile, our watershed has become an umbrella shedding millions of gallons of precious water to the sea.

While on the subject of water, or the lack thereof, the community sewer plant, after abandoned for nearly 35 years, is once again in full operation as originally designed. As needed for landscape irrigation, treated water from this plant, is pumped into a lake on the golf course. Despite three months of pumping, the level of the lagoon remains static, its waters are slowly clearing, the smell of sewage has basically disappeared, and the mosquito fish are returned.

The annual migration of sand is an event that occurs on most all Nayarit beaches. It works like this; mid-November through mid-March, storm waves from the northern hemisphere move the sand southward. In mid-March through mid-November the trend is reversed, and the sand is moved northward. For the marine turtle, this migration of sand can be a serious problem. It often cuts steep banks exposing and destroying nests, or covering them with yards of sand, trapping the hatchlings below. Steep cut banks often block the advance of nesting turtles, causing them to lay their nests below the bank where the nests stand a change of being washed out by weaves. (See photos)

T-shirts sales are down for the third straight year while, on the other hand, Home Directory sales are up for the fourth year. Between the two, our income remains about the same. To date we have sold about 150 Home Directories and, with a bit of luck, we may sell another 24 copies over the next six months.

Frank D. Smith
Director,
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C
Mexico tel. (311) 258-4100
America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, Mexico

Beachheading home

Questo in March 2007, (both photographs taken in the same place,) Questo in November, 2006

Beach

Step cut bank, March 2007


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