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Estero El Salado, Puerto Vallarta's biodiversity

19 years ago, the El Salado estuary was declared a Natural Protected Area (NPA). Its value for the ecological balance of the region is incalculable. The estuary is indispensable for its great biodiversity.

By Abraham Gutiérrez

Like all mangroves, the El Salado estuary is a great generator of life in the region. It processes a large amount of carbon dioxide to produce oxygen. Its biodiversity is marvelous, and it is estimated that 80% of marine life reproduces there. That is, without mangroves there would be practically no life in the sea. Therefore, this is one of the the great treasures we have in the Bay of Banderas.

The Mangrove, an indispensable ecosystem in our city

Mangroves are composed of trees adapted to live in flooded lands where salt water reaches. Mangroves tolerate high levels of salinity. In the El Salado estuary there are 3 species of mangrove: red, white and black. Each has different characteristics. The red mangrove is found more on the shore, where fresh and salt water mix. The white mangrove is located in intermediate zones between the estuary and the continent. The black mangrove resists higher salt concentrations. Therefore, it is found further inland, in almost dry areas.

Mangle. Estero El Salado
Vegetation in the Estero El Salado

In these semi-dry areas you can see pneumatophores, which are roots that grow in the opposite direction to the stem. They are roots that grow with negative geotropism, that is, in the opposite direction to the ground. The soil conditions are so unfavorable for a plant that they go out to capture oxygen. When you see them, they look like crooked fingers pointing to the sky.

But that's not all, did you know that in the El Salado estuary there are more than 887 species of flora and fauna? The great biodiversity that exists in the estuary is of great importance to our ecosystem, which is why we should feel extremely proud.

Estero Allied Associations

In the El Salado estuary there are biologists and volunteers who work in its conservation. They carry out research and share their knowledge with visitors. They even come from other latitudes of the world to learn about our species. Workshops are given here and links are established with other organizations dedicated to the care of biodiversity.

Among the associations and organizations involved are Aves del Paraíso, which rescues endangered birds; Conservación de Especies Maravillosas de Bahía de Banderas (CEMBAB), which rescues wildlife; Grupo de Investigación de Mamíferos Marinos (GRIMMA), which carries out research on whales and dolphins, among others.

Children, the oxygen that gives life to the El Salado Estuary

For children, visiting the Estero is a great experience. For them it is amazing and they become aware of its importance. They learn and have fun at the same time. If you live here or come on vacation, it is important to take the children to the estuary. There, they will understand the importance of nature and the care of this important ecosystem. They will learn to love it by being in contact with it and will understand the importance of maintaining this protected natural area. Their joy is the oxygen needed to protect it.

Área Natural Protegida Estero El Salado
Baby crocodile in the El Salado estuary.

What will you find? more than 887 species of birds, reptiles, plants and lots of life! and in a very safe environment, no doubt you will meet the king of the Estero, our friend the crocodile.

Celebrating life

19 years ago the El Salado Estuary, was declared a Natural Protected Area (NPA) by the Mexican government. Since then, in addition to protecting the estuary, an environmental education center was established to raise awareness of its care. Despite these efforts, El Salado estuary is in constant danger, like many other PNAs in Mexico. The excessive ambition of the real estate sector is an imminent risk for the Estero El Salado, for which we must be attentive. The estuary has already lost more than 50% of its extension since real estate development began in Puerto Vallarta. On the other hand, the state of Jalisco is the second state in the Mexican Republic with the greatest loss of mangroves due to this cause. This situation forces us to understand the importance of generating awareness about its care and the participation of civil society in its protection.

The El Salado estuary is synonymous with life. Get to know it and fall in love with it, so you will understand that we owe much of the natural beauty and the wonderful climate we have to this area.

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Jaime Alberto Torres Guerrero