The Ojos Negros valley in Baja California is an important border economic resource. The valley is located 80 km South of the U.S.-Mexico border, about 40 km East of Ensenada. Agriculture and animal husbandry are the primary economic activities in the valley, with its products being commercialized in both the United States and Mexico.

The valley continues to play an important role among the economic units of Baja California. Its future, however, remains uncertain, due to several environmental issues which remain unresolved. Three issues of overriding importance in the Ojos Negros valley are:

  • The economic and social impact of the coquillo, a weed which is gradually taking over formerly productive agricultural fields and converting them into wastelands;

  • The environmental impact of sand and gravel mining of the arroyos on the water resources of the region; and

  • The impact of climatic variability on agriculture and animal husbandry, which are the lifeline economic activities of the valley.

The project will document the economic and social impact of coquillo, in terms of its capability to adversely affect the livelihood of the local population; will identify its origins and sources, extent of infestation, impact on the economic activities, means for its control, and overall strategy for a concerted action to effectively deal with the menace. The project will document the impact of sand and gravel mining of the arroyos on the water resources of the region; will identify the local stakeholders, location, mode and volume of mining; evaluate the relationship between surface and ground water and the effects of sand mining thereon; and propose ways of optimizing the effects of sand mining to minimize adverse impacts. The project will document the economic and social effects of the climatic variability which has plagued the valley in recent times, and work with local stakeholders to develop strategies for coping on a long-term basis with the variabilities of the climate.

To accomplish the stated objectives, the Ojos Negros research group, composed on seven researchers, one from SDSU and six from UABC, will implement interdisciplinary synthesis to document, diagnose, evaluate, consult with local stakeholders, and develop meaningful and practical strategies capable of solving the problems confronting the valley and region. The study will address three major environmental problems currently affecting the Ojos Negros valley and outline appropriate corrective stategies to redirect it along the path of sustainable development.