Increasing Awareness and Resilience of Coastal Wetlands and Reefs in Quintana Roo, Mexico

Alessandra Score
Posted on: 3/01/2010 - Updated on: 6/18/2021

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Alex Score

Project Summary

The Centro Ecológico Akumal (Ecology Center in Akumal or CEA) is working on three main objectives in their conservation program for the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo: marine and coastal protection, sea turtle protection, and water quality. The main goal for 2010 is a "clean water” program to increase resilience of the coastal areas and nearshore reefs. Climate change is still not a priority for the local government and has not been a priority for the area, even though state climate action plans are now mandated by the Mexican government. CEA is leading the educational process with the local community and government and assessing ways to improve water quality in order to increase resilience in the region.


CEA is working on gathering water quality data for a vulnerability analysis of the Mexican Caribbean and working with policymakers to improve water quality in the region. They are formulating programs on water quality, mangrove protection, and coral reef resilience. There is still a lot of work needed in getting policymakers to develop and implement climate adaptation in the region, but CEA is gathering the necessary preliminary information and stakeholder support to assist in developing a State Action Plan.

CEA is focusing on coral reef resilience and coastal resilience of the system by increasing conservation of mangroves and coral reefs and by educating the community on the importance of wetland/mangrove protection.


Climate change education and awareness are being integrated into CEA main program areas. CEA is looking into securing long-term funding to implement a clean water program. Improved water quality has become a priority to increase the resilience of the coasts and coral reefs of the region. Specifically, CEA is working to stop the use of shallow injection wells because polluted water can leak from these wells, releasing nutrients and toxins to the nearshore areas, coral reefs, and mangroves.

The main programs of the CEA include a Marine Ecosystems Program, Sea Turtle Program, Water Quality Program, Sustainable Development Program, Environmental Education Program, and a Communications Program. Although there is not a formal climate change program, climate change education efforts have been initiated in the community to support a climate-smart water quality program.

Outcomes and Conclusions

This is an ongoing project to ensure the sustainability of the region and assist in the implementation of a water quality program and climate change State Action Plan. A comprehensive vulnerability study for the area is needed in order to generate government support for adaptation efforts. The region also needs more funding and training for the development and implementation of adaptation projects. CEA was also involved in The Nature Conservancy's Mesoamerican reef project, which identified resilient reefs that may act as climate refugia in the future and created a regional reef monitoring program.


Score, A. (2010). Increasing Awareness and Resilience of Coastal Wetlands and Reefs in Quintana Roo, Mexico [Case study on a project of Centro Ecológico Akumal]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated March 2010)

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Affiliated Organizations

CEA is a non-profit conservation organization working on the Mexican Caribbean to monitor the impact of development on the regional ecosystems and culture; to report findings and their significance to the public through education; and, through education, to influence public policy.

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