U.S., Mexico Write New Chapter in Conservation Cooperation
Created on Thursday, 27 October 2011 14:41
Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and his Mexican governmental counterpart, Secretary of Environment Juan Elvira Quesada, signed an historic agreement on 24 October 2011 at Big Bend (Rio Bravo) National Park, officially inaugurating the “Area of Bi-National Environmental Interest.” First suggested by President Roosevelt in 1944 in a letter to Mexican President Camacho, the idea languished for
almost 70 years, kept alive by local people and NGOs on the US side. During the planning for WILD9 (the 9th World Wilderness Congress), The WILD Foundation (WWC founder and ICCF Conservation Council member) met with Secretary Elvira and introduced him to the idea. He responded positively, and subsequently working with Secretary Salazar, conducted the diplomacy that lead to this historic agreement.
The agreement is the first such between the US and Mexico, will lead to a special protected region where tourists and rangers can move freely across the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo river. It also heralds increased cooperation between the national and state land managers on both sides of the border in an area covering some 3 million hectares (7.5 million acres) in the most bio-diverse desert ecosystem (the Chihuahuan Desert) in North America.
The October 24th press release from the U.S. Department of Interior can be viewed here.