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Executive Summary

There is a growing need to examine innovative cross-border climate solutions toward climate action and conservation that extend beyond traditional jurisdictional boundaries. This is especially true in transboundary bioregions with shared watersheds and migratory species such as the tri-state binational region consisting of the U.S. State of California and the Mexican states of Baja California and Baja California Sur (collectively, Las Californias).

The Institute of the Americas (IOA) in partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), Pronatura Noroeste (PNO), and the UC San Diego Center for U.S-Mexican Studies (USMEX), have prepared this report in an effort to promote expanded binational climate action as well as the protection of shared biodiversity across the Californias.

A key objective is to examine potential financing options for such cross-border collaboration, with an emphasis on conservation of priority habitat for migratory birds. The financing options we explore include, most importantly, tapping California’s Environmental Quality Act and its Cap and Trade program. We also address options in the international, voluntary carbon markets, as well as Mexico’s own emissions trading system. The premise of all options is based on the fact that these blue carbon assets provide carbon sequestering potential if properly conserved, as well as other ecosystem services that have value to the entire region.



Main Report


This report puts together the main findings of our project and summarizes the relevant points from all five topics we discuss (California as a potential source of funding for wetland conservation in Mexico; Mexico’s legal considerations; Coastal wetlands as ecosystem services providers and their valuation; International carbon markets as a source of potential funding for wetland conservation in Mexico, and; An overview of the key bird species and sites of interest).

Explore and download our project’s main report to read about the innovative funding mechanisms we explore to help protect and conserve these important carbon sinks throughout the Baja California Peninsula

Project Partners

Virtual Panel Discussion: Mexico-Colombia Climate Week

Complementary Reports

Tania Miranda

Voluntary and Compliance Market-based Mechanisms:

A Potential Source of Funding to Protect Blue Carbon Coastal Ecosystems in Baja California and Baja California Sur


Briana Hernández

Coastal Wetlands in the Baja California Peninsula: Ecosystem Services and its Valuation


Sula E. Vanderplank, Victor Ayala, Geovanni Cordero, Gustavo D. Danemann

The Biodiversity of the Las Californias Region


Sula E. Vanderplank, Victor Ayala-Perez,
Geovanni Cordero, & Gustavo D. Daneman

The Baja California Peninsula Wetlands: Characteristics, Designations, Threats and Focal Species.


John McNeece

Potential Sources of Funding under California Law to Protect Blue Carbon Coastal Ecosystems in Baja California and Baja California Sur


Análisis Jurídico sobre el Régimen de Propiedad y Aprovechamiento de Manglares, Pastos Marinos y Macroalgas en México, en Relación con su Capacidad de Generar Bonos de Carbono Azul


Valuation of Ecosystem Services

Bahía Magdalena-Bahía Almejas Lagoon Complex

The Bahía Magdalena-Bahía Almejas Lagoon complex (MagBay), located on the western coast of Baja California Sur, is one of the most important and productive regions in Northwest Mexico. This study by the Gulf of California Marine Program is a first stab at quantifying the value of carbon stocks and the social cost of carbon in this Lagoon complex, as an initial step towards establishing carbon credits as a source of income for the conservation and protection of blue carbon ecosystems, in a way that truly encompasses the value of the wide range of ecosystem services these wetlands provide. The tool used was the InVEST Coastal Blue Carbon model, developed by the Natural Capital Project of Stanford University.


Bahía de San Quintín

Similarly, the Gulf of California Marine Program used the InVEST Blue Carbon models to estimate the carbon stock and total net carbon sequestration for two vegetation categories found in the Bay of San Quintín: marsh vegetation and seagrass meadows. San Quintín, in Baja California Sur, México, was designated as Wetland of International Importance on February 2, 2008, by the Ramsar Convention. The bay is surrounded by coastal sage scrub, considered one of North America’s most threatened ecosystems, yet these ecosystems provide critical habitat to numerous species of plants and animals, both terrestrial and marine. Estimating the economic contribution generated through these ecosystem services will strengthen regional management and conservation efforts.




Explore this storymap as a visual narration of our project with maps, images and graphs that will take you through the key sites of interest, the key species of interest, as well as the purpose of the project and the main conclusions and recommendations we gathered through the span of a year of work.


It was developed by our GIS specialist from

Pronatura, Geovanni Cordero

10111 North Torrey Pines Road La Jolla, CA 92037
UC San Diego Campus – International lane

Directions and Maps

+1 858 453-5560
[email protected]

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