Fundación La Puerta provides the Tecate border
region with solid leadership in land conservation and
regional planning. A major objective of the Fundación
is to educate and inspire the people of Tecate to respect,
preserve and celebrate their immediate natural environment.
Among its major accomplishments is the first-of-its-kind
binational Mount Kuchumaa Conservation Easement protecting
approximately 2,000 acres/900 hectares of native plant
and wildlife habitat on the U.S./Mexico border and helping
to preserve the regional watershed, endangered species,
and air quality.
The historic Mount Kuchumaa Conservation Easement agreement,
signed in March 2003, is the culmination of years of work
by Fundación La Puerta and will preserve the 2,000
acres at the foot of Mt. Kuchumaa—an “exalted
high place,” revered by the Kumeyaay Indians for
This acreage is home to chaparral and coastal sage scrub,
an area considered one of the most sensitive and endangered
habitats in the planet and one of the 25 Global Hot Spots
for Conservation of Biodiversity.
Through creative usage of various tools, such as conservation easements, sustainable urban planning, and stewardship, Fundación La Puerta seeks to restrain the sprawling urban development in the area between Tijuana and Tecate. Development on the Mexican side of Mt. Kuchumaa will now be strictly limited, allowing this vast ecological and cultural treasure to thrive for future generations.
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The Tecate River Valley which winds through chaparral and
oak woodland beside the foothills of Mount Kuchumaa is a
vital part of an endangered trans-border watershed. Within
this regional watershed lies the Tecate River, an important
tributary of the Tijuana River basin. Once a rich source
of clean and vibrant flowing water, the Tecate River has
been severely impacted by uncontained residential and industrial
development on both the floodplain and within the riverbed.
This rapid growth has resulted in significant negative ecological
and social impacts, including: destruction of sensitive
habitat areas; pollution of soil, air, and waterways; overdraft
of the aquifer; and extensive erosion among others.
Fundación La Puerta considers the Tecate River Park
Project to be the center piece around which well planned
urban development is possible, restoration of the river
is attainable and community integration may become a reality.
All of this in a context of environmental sustainability.
The Fundación spearheaded and fully funded various
studies of the Tecate River to determine alternatives to
concrete channeling, successfully shifting the mindset of
local and state wide planners to accept a more sustainable,
eco-hydrological approach. (see Research
and Publications for more information.)
A river park is a model for urban and environmental planning
that aspires to address the complex problems that presently
affect Mexico and other parts of the world in which short
term views have put immediate growth first, sacrificing
ecosystems and the future viability of the cities.
This Fundación La Puerta project wholly integrates
urban, social and environmental considerations, thus increasing
the overall value of Tecate and its economy which has
successfully maintained its identity in spite of the overwhelming
pressures of growth in the border region. Fundación La Puerta has been successful in its
attempts to convince the local, regional, and national
governments to acknowledge the profound value of creating
a Tecate River Park and embrace a living river which will
host community parks, recreational activities, and wildlife.
Such a River Park will gracefully provide an environment
for both people and nature to prosper. Fundación La Puerta collaborates with various government agencies and private businesses to take the first actions consistent with this project., one of which is the construction of the River Walk, where families can now walk along the riverbed within the urban center. Fundación La Puerta has also made it possible to construct more than 3,800 square meters of wetlands designed to improve the quality of treated wastewater discharged by the City of Tecate’s waste water treatment facility, and help restore the riparian habitat surrounding the Tecate River.
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