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 Moderated by: bartmanaz Page:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
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The towers at Estero del Soldado  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Sat Oct 31st, 2015 05:08 am
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ballenamar
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With the new State of Sonora administration, things are changing at all levels. Those of us who have been working on the conservation of El Estero del Soldado are encouraged because the prime candidate for overseeing the estuary is happily one of our gang of students and professors that were part of the old  TEC - Campus Guaymas. Two of us who have been pushing for conservation support by the state will meet with this man in a week or two. This guy really cares and is easy to work with.  

My position at the meeting will be that he will have the support of the local Mexican and American community only if he works to remove the towers. My argument is that those towers are a symbol of rampant political will and not good conservation. Furthermore, I am hoping that the Mexican and Anglo community will begin to support the conservation of the estuary when the towers fall. 

I am hoping that those of you who are interested in the conservation of the estuary but are hesitant to say or do anything until the towers are gone will offer some support as we move forward at these meetings with our candidate manager of the estuary. I promise you that your names or your contact info will not be revealed. All I want to do is get a rough measure of the support from the Anglo community for estuary conservation if the towers were removed. Please let me know in this forum, by private message, or via mail at billg@freshvista.com.    

Last edited on Sat Oct 31st, 2015 05:12 am by ballenamar

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 Posted: Sun Nov 1st, 2015 02:56 pm
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ballenamar
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I am very grateful for those who are sending me comments either by PM or via email. I am copying all of your comments onto a special note without any reference to identity. This note will be presented to the CEDES people who we will be talking with. 

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 Posted: Tue Nov 3rd, 2015 02:47 am
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maryt
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What to they mean by estuary conservation? I support the towers coming down for sure but do not support the type of conservation that cuts out access for activities such as bird watching. A lot of us are older people and can´t walk great distances to be able to enjoy the beauty of the place. Glad a good guy has been appointed. I support the type of tourism for the estuary that is based on the essence of the area not trying to create something new and exciting like Zip lines which are basically for thrills and have nothing to do with the estuary itself.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 3rd, 2015 02:38 pm
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ballenamar
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maryt:


Thanks for your helpful response. Your comments focus on accessibility so I will reply to that.


First, what does "conservation" mean? It means the preservation and protection of the area for use by the plants, animals, and birds who live or choose to visit the lagoon. It is their home. BUT, good conservation is also environmental education because by informing people and allowing them to participate, a new consciousness for preservation and protection emerges.  This means that the estuary must serve both Nature's inhabitants AND visitors who care to learn about and preserve the lagoon.


There has been a lot of misunderstanding about the accessibility to the estuary. Many have said that the visitor center is always closed. I have talked to those who oversee the estuary and they insist that the area around the visitor center is open to the public from 9 AM to 3PM five days a week. I have forgotten which days. What is confusing to many is that the entrance is NOT the old road to the visitor center. The entrance and parking area is at the palapa just south of the visitor center. During business hours, there is someone on duty at the palapa with information on tours, etc. If you want to talk to someone in English about the estuary, the person at the palapa can call the estuary manager to come talk to you. She speaks good English.


Despite all of this, the best areas to visit the estuary and see birds are not near the visitor center. These areas are ALWAYS accessible. There are three good areas. First, the mouth (boca) of the estuary which is a 1/2 mile walk east along the beach from Condominios Pilar.


Second, the western shore of the lagoon which can be reached by driving about half way to Pilar from Ave. Beltrones and then using the hard packed sand road to travel east to near the lagoon edge. CEDES has constructed some barb wire barriers near the lagoon which prevent you from driving along the western edge of the lagoon. However, you can park and take a slow stroll along the water's edge for about 1/2 mile. You can see many birds here in season. I usually walk with my camera and a small chair. I then sit and let Nature come to me. It is amazing how many birds will simply walk by you if you sit still for about 15 minutes.


Third, my favorite spot is on the northern edge of the lagoon. In season, there are all sorts of birds. Clear driving directions are a bit difficult to write, but I can easily show you. The place is a little hill on the northern shore. You take an old road around that hill and park near the water -- leaving enough space so as to not scare the birds Then slowly walk a few meters. This place is loaded with birds during the winter. There are no barricades but CEDES asks that you park away from the shore to avoid spooking the birds. CEDES is clear that you are welcome to walk or sit in this area and invites you to observer and photograph the many birds. Maryt, there is very little walking needed here.


I hope this long message dispels the rumors that the estuary is inaccessible. There are places where one can visit with little hiking and places where more walking is necessary.


One last thing. I fully support the installation of the barb wire barricades by CEDES. There has been a lot of truck and ATV traffic in sensitive areas. Lots of parties and garbage. These barricades are not meant to keep people out. They are meant to eliminate the harmful effects of people's toys and noisy activities that disturb the birds. You can still easily park your vehicle and walk around the barricades to enjoy the area on foot.


With the new administration, we are beginning to move toward a new era in administration and preservation of the estuary. One of the major things we are pushing for is help from the community. If you find something you do not like, I'm hoping that there will be a forum for you to voice your ideas and concerns to CEDES. There will be opportunity for you to become directly involved as a volunteer. Our first round of meetings with CEDES will be taking place very soon. After that, I will have more to report.  

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 Posted: Tue Nov 3rd, 2015 03:28 pm
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maryt
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Thanks Bill. I didn´t know that about the parking area near the palapa. Like you, I love that area around the little hill and if that and your 2nd place remain open for cars I will be quite pleased. Our birding group goes there often.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 3rd, 2015 07:41 pm
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odwyerpw
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"Many have said that the visitor center is always closed. I have talked to those who oversee the estuary and they insist that the area around the visitor center is open to the public from 9 AM to 3PM five days a week."

I am one of those persons. I've tallied 6 attempts from about 11am to 2:30pm during the midweek over the last few years to visit that center and the gates have always been locked. If there is another entrance for the public, then please advise them to mark it for the public that aren't CEDES insiders. It just seems so unfriendly to the public, which impedes support.

Last edited on Tue Nov 3rd, 2015 07:54 pm by odwyerpw

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 Posted: Tue Nov 3rd, 2015 08:59 pm
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ballenamar
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odwyer:
Thanks for the comment. I will be seeing these people and I will pass it on. There will probably be a change in personnel in December. That will be a good opportunity to make it clear that the facility needs to be open as advertised. 
Like you, the place looks dead to me many times as I drive by. If, indeed, they are open, some flags or something that gathers attention is probably needed. My guess is that someone is always there. But, they are really spread out with only three people. I have seen some good progress in restoring barricades and signs as well as garbage cleanup. The very limited staff is likely off doing those kind of things rather than manning the gates.
I have seen various kayak type environmental education programs going on. These programs are probably reserved rather than "come-as-you-may".
Limited paid staff will be a problem for some time. The State of Sonora has very little money right now due to things that happened in the previous administration. This means that community involvement is a must. We are even going to seek approval for volunteers to remove the towers and have a scrap company take the metal away. This is all in the idea stage right now. But, with little money, volunteer help is going to be very important for almost everything.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2016 03:04 am
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ballenamar
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Here is a long overdue update on the estuary.

The new governor of Sonora officially approved the removal of the towers about three weeks ago.  What remains is the physical work of getting the job done. I hear dates that are "hopes" but nothing exact.

A group of scientists and educators are now meeting each month as a Consejo (advisory committee). That is a very good sign because professional people with a variety of skills will be overseeing estuary operations. I am on that committee and my job will be to oversee the formation a volunteer organization. The paid staff is very limited due to budgetary constraints so we have great hopes that both Mexican and Anglo volunteers will be available to carry out a variety of tasks.
More to come.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2016 01:06 pm
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aloha
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saludos y exito amigo!!

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 Posted: Wed Jan 27th, 2016 07:35 pm
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roadrunner
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WOW !!!People are concerned about your access into the Estuary ?
Do you have any idea of what the Estuary is supposed to be ??
It's not for people to stumble about shouting, stumbling, shaking the bushes, riding the ZIP line.  IT'S FOR MIGRATING BIRDS TO REST, BREED AND HAVE PEACE AND QUIET until it's time for them to return home.
If people can quietly kayak or walk in to view these beautiful creatures, that should be enough. There are VERY FEW places like this Estuary in all of Mexico.
The thought should be cleaning and keeping clean all the acres of this estuary that are set aside for wildlife that seems to diminish each year. 
Track down the people that have dumped hundreds of dump truck loads of discarded glass bottles with all the labels removed to eliminate ownership and the constant dumping of construction trash in the estuary.

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 Posted: Thu Jan 28th, 2016 03:01 am
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ballenamar
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Thank you roadrunner. My thoughts exactly.

Last edited on Thu Jan 28th, 2016 03:01 am by ballenamar

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 Posted: Thu Jan 28th, 2016 01:47 pm
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aloha
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excellent post road runner.thx~

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 Posted: Mon Feb 1st, 2016 12:48 am
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ballenamar
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Here is my translation of a section of the minutes from our 15 January 2016 Consejo (advisory committee) meeting: 

It was announced that work will begin removing  the towers and zip lines that are present within the Estero del Soldado protected area. 

The work and activities will be conducted by the Federal Electricity Commission who will guarantee that the company will maintain good environmental practices. The removal work will be conducted in three stages: (1) removal, (2) dismantling and (3) carrying away. Items 2 and 3  will be done outside the perimeter of the Estero del Soldado without risk to the biodiversity and ecosystems present there. 

Last edited on Mon Feb 1st, 2016 12:49 am by ballenamar

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 Posted: Mon Feb 1st, 2016 03:08 am
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IronMan
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Three of the most commonly used phrases in liberal circles...A group of scientists and educators are now meeting each month;What remains is the physical work of getting the job done. I hear dates that are "hopes" but nothing exact.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 1st, 2016 04:58 pm
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ballenamar
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Ironman: Why don't you cheer them on instead of criticizing??? They've come a long way by overcoming a bad administration, then a new governor signing the dismantling order, then figuring out how to get the towers down without affecting the environment, etc. Yes, there have been "hopes" for dates. The first hope was by the end of December and now it looks like February. I am close to these people. They are very sincere and good people who are focused on righting some wrongs both politically and environmentally. Please. Cheer them on like a number of other Americans are doing.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 1st, 2016 11:50 pm
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IronMan
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It was actually meant to be a humorous observation, not a criticism.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 3rd, 2016 02:19 am
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ballenamar
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Today the work of removing the towers has begun. Each tower will be taken down by section and moved away from the protected area for further dismantlement. I think I heard 4 days for the total project being done by the electric company.
Total is World Wetlands Day and there was a celebration at the estuary visitor center. Today I received official authorization to create the volunteer organization.
More to come.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 3rd, 2016 05:11 pm
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Kiwi
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Am sure that folks who have been around since the middle 80's recall that the estuary used to be the place where baby sailfish lived for awhile after they were born in the bay.  It  is a sad state that Mexico woke up so late to how valuable estuaries can be and I would say that 95 percent of all marinas in Mexico were build in estuaries thus destroying breeding grounds for many, many species of birds and fish. Hopefully they will not allow that anymore but there are only a few left and money talks

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 Posted: Thu Feb 4th, 2016 12:00 am
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odwyerpw
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Interesting developments. We drove to San Carlos on Monday afternoon (Feb 1st, 2pm) via the Delfinario road. We were commenting on the towers and lines still being there.

Pretty cool that they began dismantling them the very next day.

Make sure to post photos Bill. Will be nice to see those things down.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 4th, 2016 03:13 am
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ballenamar
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I am having trouble figuring out how to upload pix to this site. But, this facebook page has some images from today:
https://www.facebook.com/EsteroDelSoldado/

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