Partnerships for Conservation

Watershed Council held at Alter Terra

Los Laureles Canyon Master Plan

The storms of 2005 created conditions that overwhelmed sediment basins with trash and sediment originating from the Los Laureles/Goat Canyon sub basin. This storm season event destroyed 20 acres of pristine salt marsh at the south-west end of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR).

In order to address the potential impacts of future storms, the California Coastal Conservancy agency took the advice of Oscar Romo and provided $250,000 in funding toward the creation of a diagnostic of the Los Laureles Canyon sub-basin.  This diagnostic was prepared by a team of 16 scientists working under the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA), the science branch of the National Water Commission.  The Diagnostic was completed and published in 2006, and it was used as the basis to create a watershed-based urban master plan for the sub-basin.  Mexican authorities saw the potential of this advanced vision and contributed to 50% of the total cost, equivalent to $200,000 U.S. dollars.  The City of Tijuana invested $100,000 and the Federal Social Development agency, through the habitat program, contributed another $100,000.  The funds were used to pay for additional research, GIS mapping, legal advice, and 70 public meetings.

The Master Plan was approved by the Tijuana City Council in the summer of 2006 and signed into Baja California public law in 2007; this is the first government-approved watershed plan in Mexico. The document serves as the basis for implementation of recommendations made by scientists, urbanists and general public.  The Master Plan is the first ever watershed-based urban plan in the country of Mexico.  The plan requires local, state and federal agencies to work cooperatively under the scrutiny of sub-basin residents.

The Master Plan included the creation of a Watershed Council negotiated between TRNERR staff, Oscar Romo and the City of Tijuana.  The council was appointed in 2009. Watershed Council representatives include community representatives from the 7 micro-basins of the Los Laurels sub-basin, as well as, representatives from city, state, and federal agencies, local universities, NGO’s and TRNERR watershed coordinator; Oscar Romo was instrumental in assuring that TRNERR holds a permanent position on the Watershed Council.  This is the only watershed council in Mexico in which a U.S. entity participates.

For more information on the Los Laureles Canyon Master Plan please visit:!programa-parcial

Partnerships for Conservation