Wildcoast featured


I met marine biologist and renowned author Wallace “J.” Nichols while living in Baja in the early 1990s as part of my doctoral research on gray whales. After receiving my doctorate, I worked for The Nature Conservancy establishing national parks along the Sea of Cortez coastline of the Baja California peninsula.

In 2000, J. and I co-founded WILDCOAST to help preserve coastal and marine ecosystems and endangered wildlife along the Baja California Peninsula. We sought to protect gray whale lagoons against mega-developments and further the plight of the region’s sea turtles which had nearly disappeared. We immediately started a campaign to halt the black-market trade of turtle eggs and meat in Baja, and helped to preserve Laguna San Ignacio, a pristine gray whale breeding lagoon.

Since 2000, WILDCOAST has helped protect 38 million acres of globally important coastal and marine ecosystems including gray whale breeding lagoons, sea turtle nesting beaches, coral reefs teeming with fish, leopard shark nurseries and the wildest coastlines in North America. Eastern Pacific green sea turtles can be seen throughout the seagrass meadows of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez. Additionally, we are conserving coastal wetlands known as blue carbon ecosystems, such as salt marsh, seagrass meadows mangroves, and coral reefs that naturally sequester large amounts of atmospheric carbon and help communities adapt to climate change.

With 10 conservation programs in the U.S. and Mexico, our strategy is robust yet simple. We establish and manage protected areas, protect and restore blue carbon ecosystems, and engage communities in conservation stewardship.
Our trash boom in Los Laureles, a tributary canyon of the Tijuana River, has stopped over 100,000 pounds of waste from entering the Pacific Ocean at the US/Mexico border in the past year and we are planning two more trash boom installations next year.

The coastal treasures that we conserve support an abundance of wildlife and are iconic recreation sites for people to enjoy. WILDCOAST has purchased and protected over 50 miles of pristine, untouched coastline in the Los Ciros area of central Baja. We are striving to protect nature for generations to come.

I am so pleased for the return of our annual Baja Bash fundraiser on Saturday October 1st, highlighting the need to protect Baja’s iconic coastline and wildlife, and the importance to conserve the majestic and mighty oceans, and address climate change in a way that brings us together in common purpose.

We would not be able to carry out our mission without your support. And that is why your participation in the Baja Bash is so critical. For more information about the event, please visit

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Esteban Villanueva