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Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends ~

Unfortunately, both Leatherback nests collected this season failed. One possible reason may have been the lower than normal nest temperatures. A thermocouples/thermometer placed in the center of the nest recorded temperatures ranging between 22.4°c and 24.4°c, far too cold to incubate Leatherback eggs.

At last, James Valentine, may have discovered a way to incubate late season nests. His idea is to heat the nests with tube lighting, the same type of decorative lighting wrapped around palm trees, etc. A solid plastic tube, 36" long, ½" diameter, and containing 36 small bulbs with the heating power of 16 watts. (See photo below). This experiment was first placed into action when Juan Flores found an Olive Ridley nest containing eighty-three eggs on April 18th. Three layers of eggs were carefully placed in the center of a large styrofoam box, about 2" above the heating tube, then the entire box was filled with moist sand. To avoid overheating, a thermocouple was placed in the center of the nest to automatically control the temperature.

The tube lighting can also be used to incubate Leatherback nests as mentioned in the last newsletter. In August, we are planning to build a small chain-link fenced nursery on the beach in order to protect Leatherback and late season Olive Ridley nests from poachers, horses and quad-runners. This nursery must be located near a source of electrical power in order to heat nests.

With the dawn of Global Warming, Will Rodgers' quote of a hundred years ago has more meaning today then ever before. "Whiskey for drinking, and water for fighting". According to a newly released United Nations report on Global Climate, Southern California, Nevada, Utah, all of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and the entire country of Mexico could experience serious droughts over the coming decades. However, the report also mentioned that global warming will bring more rain along the Pacific coast of México, through increasing hurricane activity.

Despite all the warning signs to conserve and protect our watershed, past water shortages, and the absence of government assistance, the quest for more water has driven some to the illusion that installing more wells will solve all our problems. Our aquifer is a vast underground lake whose waters flow from every canyon and travel from every corner of the aquifer down to the existing wellheads. There are no undiscovered pockets of water within this lake, our aquifer. On the other hand, would those responsible for protecting the town's water allow their aquifer to be drained dry by these proposed wells? Using too much water between October and April would most likely cause severe water shortages from mid-April to mid-August. This they cannot afford.

The idea of a retaining dam has some merit, although it also has serious flaws. Retaining dams or settling basins are rarely placed across rivers that are subject to serious flash flooding, or below watersheds that are subject to serious erosion. If the retaining dam could withhold the force of the flash floods, its settling basins would most likely be overrun and destroyed by sand, mud, and debris from the watershed above. First, we must repair the damage within our watershed and then build the retaining dams.

If you had lived in San Pancho over 15 years ago, you would have been appalled at the totally out of control dog problem, i.e.

· The sound of barking dogs from dusk to dawn.

· Countless packs of male dogs trailing a single female through the streets of town.

· Homeless dogs with their hair entirely eaten away by parasites.

· Sick and dying dogs littering the streets.

· The cold fact that puppies rarely survived their first month.

· The chilling fact that packs of dogs ruled the streets and the beach.

Today with the help of the spay/neuter clinic these problems have all but completely disappeared, there is still much to be done.

The two-day spay/neuter clinic, held the 13th and 14th of April, was a wonderful success. This program began over nine years ago and has grown considerably with the help of residents and visitors alike. As a result, fewer homeless animals are walking the streets and the physical condition of the dogs and cats has greatly improved.

Many volunteers have helped this clinic to grow. The founders of the clinic and the members of the community would like to thank all those who have participated, donating their time for fundraising, collecting equipment, working at the clinic and giving great amounts of energy to make this effort a success.

Through the summer, Betty McIntyre and Airamzul Iflaf, will be offering free vaccinations against a tick-borne disease called "earlichia" which has been very debilitating to dogs in the pueblo. It is their hope that with the cooperation of dog-owners, they can all work toward eradicating this disease and improving the lives of all the animals in the pueblo. Again, a heartfelt thanks to all who worked on the clinic

Speaking of success, on Sunday, April the 22nd, Nicole and Elvia, with the help of about 16 adults and about 44 kids, took on the challenge of cleaning the river. Within two hours, the river was picked clean of all trash and debris including tires, appliances, lumber, pipes, barbwire, etc. The first crew began working above the bridge, the second crew below the bridge and the third above the Lagoon, a distance of about two miles. .Afterwards the entire group enjoyed cold drinks below the library and a raffle for Group T-shirts.

Weather-wise, there has been no rain to speak of since the first of the year. Daytime temperatures have ranged between the low 90°s and high 70°s, nighttime temperatures hover around the mid 70°s, and no perceptible winds. Except for one-quarter mile above the lagoon, the river is dry and the lagoon is free of Water Lettuce, at least for the time being. Despite the better than normal rainfall last year, the jungle is showing more stress now than it did at this time last year.

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

Box heading home

Styrofoam Box with heating at the bottom. The box was later filled moist sand, eggs and insturments.

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