Coral Reef Conservation in the Huatulco National Park, Oaxaca, Mexico
WILDCOAST will work with Mexico's National Park Service (CONANP) to improve management of 13,613 acres of marine ecosystems and 113 acres of globally significant coral reefs in Huatulco National Park (HNP). The corals of HNP, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, provide refuge for 192 fish species, hundreds of invertebrate species, olive ridley and hawksbill sea turtles and 12 mammal species, including spotted dolphin and humpback whales. The reefs offer popular sites for domestic and international divers and provide a direct livelihood for more than 500 local residents. Coral reefs buffer shoreline communities and habitats from storm surges and sea level rise, both of which are projected to increasingly impact the coastline of Oaxaca. Coral reef conservation will play an important role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. WILDCOAST is building management and local capacity to protect coral reefs and surrounding coastal ecosystems within HNP. This program will include: 1) developing, installing and maintaining a conservation and mooring buoy system around 113 acres of coral reefs; 2) building monitoring and conservation capacity among park staff and tourism outfitters that operate in the park; and 3) building community awareness of coral reefs and engagement in conservation stewardship activities.