Page 102 - Respond 2014 | RTCC Publications
P. 102


soLar saLt


in mexico

A Sustainable Development Case Study in a Natural Protected Area

• Ojo de Liebre coastal lagoon in the El Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, in the central In Guerrero Negro, nature has given a head start in the
part of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico, presents natural areas that give salt production process: the seawater that fows from
refuge to different types of wildlife, terrestrial endemic species, gravid whales the lagoon into the concentration areas is naturally a bit
and calves. At the same time Ojo de Liebre Lagoon is the operation centre of the denser than the seawater in the ocean due to the natural
world’s largest Salt feld. cycle of the tide and current fow in the lagoon.
• Sea, Wind, Sun and People, these are the elements that make possible the
production of Solar Salt at Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, Mexico. As the seawater slowly fows through the system of
concentration ponds, it gradually increases it’s density
Situated on 33,000 hectares of the most appropriate land for such an operation, through sun and wind powered evaporation, until it
Exportadora de Sal (ESSA) is the world’s largest salt feld. Very low rainfall combines reaches its sodium chloride saturation point.
with plenty of sunshine and wind on an ancient sea foor adjacent to the shores of Ojo
de Liebre Lagoon in the Vizcaíno desert, to create the perfect environment for a solar Whilst increasing the density of seawater, the
salt feld that benefts our planet and our people. concentration ponds provide a protected habitat for
fsh, crustacean (like shrimps and crabs), and sea grass
(like Ruppia y Zostera) that supports thousands of birds,
including more than 60 migratory species that every year
arrive to the Ojo de Liebre lagoon – Guerrero Negro Salt
Field complex on their way to reproductive, feeding or
growing grounds.
Microbial mats
Also, within 6,000 hectares of the concentration ponds,
in addition to the presence of several species of birds,
some protozoa, insects and the brine shrimp Artemia,
it is noteworthy the presence of microbial mats. These
microbial mats are macroscopic arrangements of
abundant species of microorganisms.
Microbial components of the mats have an important
With over 170,000 bird sightings, Exportadora de Sal solar salt production ponds, together ecological role, not only as primary producers, nitrogen
with Ojo de Liebre Lagoon Complex, are a Site of Hemispheric Importance for Shorebirds, fxers, mobilization of heavy metals, stabilizing of
designated by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. sediments, and other processes that beneft not only the
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