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  • Highlighted Program: Blue Carbon Collaborative
  • Looking for volunteers
  • giv4 Category: Immediate Physical Impact
  • Contact for more information:

    Ann Wycoff
    Director of Development
    [email protected]

Based in Del Mar and Ensenada, and with many projects at - and on both sides of - the U.S. Mexico border, WILDCOAST is an international team that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and addresses climate change through natural solutions. Through the establishment and management of protected areas, the protection and restoration of blue carbon ecosystems, and partnering with local communities, WILDCOAST is currently helping to conserve more than 38.3 million acres of some of the most ecologically important coastline, ocean habitat, wetlands, islands, and wildlife-rich wilderness in the world


What makes your organization unique in its approach to addressing climate change?

What makes WILDCOAST unique is over 20 years of experience successfully implementing in-field conservation projects from the ground up. Our restoration work started with 200 acres of red mangrove forest in El Delgadito, Laguna San Ignacio, Mexico in 2019-2020 and the program has since expanded to include 68,108 acres of mangrove forest in northwest Mexico and 43 acres of wetland habitat in San Diego County. This work includes planning, permitting, in-field restoration, monitoring, conservation concessions, policy, and community engagement.


How do climate/environmental changes affect the San Diego region specifically? How can people in San Diego become a part of local solutions?

Coastal wetlands, including blue carbon ecosystems such as mangroves, salt marsh, and seagrass beds, help sustain a healthy coastline and have watershed-wide benefits.


Conservation of these sites enhances ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, buffering against sea level rise and storm surge, filtration of sediments and pollutants, opportunities for community engagement, and critical habitat for myriad species. The restoration of degraded wetlands has great potential as a natural solution to climate change.


Unfortunately, San Diego County’s wetlands have been dramatically reduced from their historic condition, leaving them surrounded by developments that are vulnerable to sea-level rise and climate change.


Therefore, WILDCOAST is restoring 43 acres of degraded wetland habitat with the support of community partners and public volunteers in San Diego County. Becoming educated about the impacts of climate change and participating in volunteer events are some of the best ways people in San Diego County can help fight climate change.


When was the organization founded?

Serge Dedina and Wallace J. Nichols co-founded WILDCOAST in 2000 to preserve coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife in California and Mexico. Serge continues to serve as the Executive Director of WILDCOAST.


In early 2000, Laguna San Ignacio - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the last undeveloped gray whale birthing lagoon on the planet, and home to carbon storing mangrove forests - was under threat from plans for a Mitsubishi salt plant. Serge and a group of ardent conservation advocates formed the Laguna San Ignacio Conservation Alliance and led a tenacious campaign to provide sustainable development and conservation alternatives in Baja California, Mexico.


The result was the permanent protection of 134,900 acres on the east side of the lagoon. The success of the project convinced the Mexican government to protect an additional 66,500 acres of federal lands on the western shore of the lagoon.


giv4 provides general operating support through this grant. (Why? Learn more). However, if this funding would be useful for your giv4 climate category (physical impact), how would it be used?

In 2023, WILDCOAST will provide immediate physical impact to the San Diego County region in the fight against climate change through the following activities:

  • Protecting and restoring key sites within 60 acres of riparian habitat surrounding Batiquitos Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA - 326 acres) and 12 acres surrounding San Dieguito SMCA (70 acres).
  • Building the capacity of organizations working in natural climate solutions by leading the California Blue Carbon Collaborative (BCC) stakeholder working group and facilitating at least three stakeholder meetings.
  • Integrating blue carbon into climate action planning in California by developing an inventory of blue carbon accounting in California and establishing a working group to identify and fill gaps in knowledge.
  • Completing the San Diego County Blue Carbon assessment by collecting and processing at least 100 soil samples.


Are there any recent news articles/publications/videos by or about your organization that you’d like to highlight?

Opinion: Fighting climate change isn’t just a hobby for young people. It can be a career.
March 28, 2022
San Diego Union Tribune


The Sea Turtle Arribada by GoPro for a Cause + Kindhumans (Dec 19, 2022)
This short film by GoPro for a Cause @kindhumans6123 tells the conservation story of protecting millions of sea turtles in Oaxaca, Mexico.



Is your organization looking for volunteers? Are you looking for committee/board members with particular skill sets? Do you need in-kind donations of any sort?

WILDCOAST is seeking volunteer support for field activities such as wetland restoration, as well as board and in-kind support for events and fundraising opportunities. For further information please contact Ann Wycoff, Director of Development at [email protected] or 310-291-1255.


What else would you want people to know about your organization?

In addition to the work mentioned above, WILDCOAST’s accomplishments include:

  • Helping establish California’s 545,280-acre marine protected area network.
  • Engaging over 15,000 students in coastal education and stewardship.
  • Deploying three Marine Monitor RADAR units adjacent to 14,534 acres of San Diego County MPAs.
  • Installing the first trash boom in the Tijuana River preventing 130,000 pounds of trash from reaching the Pacific Ocean in 2021-2022.
  • Conserving and restoring 38,336 acres of mangrove forests that store 3.5 million tons of carbon.
  • Managing 51,295 acres and 36.6 miles of coastline through direct purchases and conservation easements in Baja’s Valle de los Cirios.
  • Monitoring arribadas (mass sea turtle nesting events) at Escobilla and Morro Ayuta beaches in Oaxaca, where more than 2.5 million turtles lay their eggs.
  • Strengthening the conservation of 36.7 million acres of coral reef habitat in eight MPAs of the Mexican Pacific.
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