San Quintín Bay Waterkeeper


Enrique Alfaro Mercado
[email protected]
+52 (646) 177-68-00


The San Quintín Lagoon Complex (SQLC) comprises the coastal wetlands and water bodies found between the San Quintín Bay and Laguna Figueroa, both located 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of the U.S.­Mexico border in the Municipality of Ensenada, Baja California. The complex extends for over 4,123 square kilometers of drainage area throughout 3 watersheds that originate in the central part of the peninsula in the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir mountain range. It has rare, valuable habitats like marshes, intertidal zones, coastal dunes and coastal scrub that are home to endemic species and species including endangered, threatened and vulnerable seabirds, mammals and reptiles. In addition to being the habitat of many vulnerable seabird species, it is home to the most important breeding populations of many bird species. It is also the wintering site of 30% ­ to 50% of the total population of migratory birds.  In the land adjacent to the SQLC there are at least ten endemic Mediterranean plant species and more than twenty endemic plant species.The coastal dune system is the most diverse in Baja California. The bay’s marsh sustains important populations of seagrass, one of the most important species in the region that is capable of maintaining the biological diversity by forming an ecosystem that is the foundation of a stable community of invertebrates.  The SQLC is located within one of the largest agricultural production regions in Baja California, both in crops and greenhouses. Agricultural activities comprise mostly crops for the export market (tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries and various vegetables) and employ the majority of the region’s economically active population. Oyster farming is also significant, with at least 23 companies dedicated to the cultivation of bivalve mollusks and some clams.  The main threats to the Bay’s water quality—mostly anthropogenic—are: overexploitation of aquifers for agricultural crops, waste discharge of desalination plants operating in the surrounding area, waste from commercial oyster farms, and contamination from industrial and municipal sources.

Mr. Enrique Alfaro Mercado is the San Quintín Bay Waterkeeper and also serves as Field and Operations Officer for Terra Peninsular, the Waterkeeper’s parent organization.  He is based in San Quintín and is well known in the community.  He was born next to the ocean in the city of Ensenada, Baja California, and grew up throughout the state - in the Ojos Negros Valley (south of Ensenada), Sierra de Juárez (the mountain range that splits Baja California into east and west), the Baja California Desert, and both coasts of the peninsula. He studied at the Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit and obtained a degree in Agronomy. Mr. Alfraro Mercado coordinates the patrols and  monitoring of the bay and develops relationship with relevant authorities such as the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA, its Spanish acronym) and the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT, its Spanish acronym).


Calle Tercera #1282 entre Calles Espinoza y Castillo, Zona Centro
Ensenada, Baja California C.P. 22800