Conservation agreement will help protect gray-whale lagoon in Mexico

OK, stay calm. We don’t want to freak you out or anything, but we’ve got some … good news. Seems American and Mexican conservationists have united with local Mexican landholders to preserve a pristine gray-whale calving ground. The Laguna San Ignacio, an area of bird-friendly wetlands and fish-rich mangroves on the northwestern Mexican coast, hosts the giant cetaceans during their yearly 6,000-mile migration along the Pacific coast. Now a new cross-border conservation pact guarantees a communal landholding group, Ejido Luis Echeverria, $25,000 a year in perpetuity for limiting development on 110,000 acres of coastal land. Mexican conservation group Pronatura will help administer the funds in ways that promote ecologically sound development and tourism. “If we hadn’t signed this agreement, we could have been forced to sell some of our land,” says landholder Raul Lopez, but with the financial assistance, “we can open small business and strengthen the economy of our communities.”