Didn’t think I was going to blog this soon, but yesterday it was quite an interesting day!
I was lucky enough to empathize with the manager from the Environmental Department of the ‘ESSA’ salt marsh industry, who asked a co-worker to give me a tour of all the facilities. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect, maybe big containers and large buildings with incompressible machines and a lot of salt. But surprisingly for me, as they produce salt via evaporation, they are spread out along 32 thousand ha. of desert and valleys within the 72 thousand ha. they own. Given its extension, the tour took around 4 wonderful hours of beautiful landscapes, thousands of birds, enormous pinkish ponds, white mountains of salt, sandy roads, wetlands and one or another surprise.
For example, during cold season, the turtles cannot hold the temperatures and die. Later, when the high tide comes, it leaves all the corpses on the muddy ground along the shore. Since its a protected area, people cannot just take out the carcasses as if nothing happened. Therefore, the result is a sad but visually beautiful landscape of various dead turtles with pinkish watery backgrounds. As sad as it might sound, this is just a tiny part compared to all the amazing things happening here.
ESSA built several wetlands as part of their filtration process which made the habitat suitable for thousands of birds. In fact, three of the migratory species are now residents of this area! How cool is that?! Furthermore, the grey whale arrives every year to the lagoon where ESSA has been extracting the salt for 60 years now; and nevertheless, it doesn’t represent a problem to this enormous marine mammals. Actually the company works together with the environmental authorities and the park rangers in plenty of environmental projects including saving whales beached on the shore. Unfortunately, sometimes is not possible to help them.
Guerrero Negro was created as a town because ESSA needed workers. They built the houses, the schools, the roads, and with the time this was taken by the government and it became part of the state. The company is still a pillar of the economy here, it arrived even before the protected area was established. Thanks to ESSA’s concern for the environment, Guerrero Negro is a unique example of how the industry and the conservation can be coupled and work together for preserving nature.