Salt Dunes

Research Projects & Reports

The Institute for Regional Studies of the Californias has under way, or has recently completed, a number of applied research topics on issues related to the U.S.-Mexican border region and borders elsewhere as well as the Baja California Peninsula. These projects are carried out by teams of researchers drawn from the faculty of San Diego State University, Mexican universities, and other regional and international universities. In addition, most of the projects involve practitioners and community members. 

Current Projects

Loreto, Baja California Sur, and Challenges for a Sustainable Future

This project includes participation of Paul Ganster (SDSU), Oscar Arizpe (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur—UABCS), Vinod Sasidharan (SDSU), and additional researchers from UABCS. This project will update base social, economic, and environmental information and analyze new issues that have developed since 2005 for the Loreto, Baja California Sur, region.  The activities include an analysis of the vulnerability of the natural systems and human settlements caused by likely effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, and more severe storm events. Urban expansion in Loreto and flooding vulnerability will need to be examined, including the flood diversion works built by FONATUR that failed to protect Nopoló in 2013.  In addition, the likely effects of a large mining development in the municipality that was authorized by the Mexican Geologic Service that will be undertaken by Azure Metals, Ltd., an Australian mining firm, will be analyzed. This large project has the potential to permanently alter the viewscape of the region and cause significant contamination to air, water, terrestrial, and marine resources of adjacent protected areas. Sustainability of the natural and human systems of Loreto into the future will be the common theme that runs through these research activities. The results of these applied research efforts will be presented to local stakeholders through written materials, community forums and workshops, and targeted briefings. The project will translate scientific research results to the community to facilitate their decision making as Loreto confronts future alternatives for growth and development.

The first phase of this project is a student research project in Loreto that includes SDSU and UABCS students in June 2015.

The Binational Tijuana River Watershed

This project is a series of related research efforts dating from the late 1980s. The long-term purpose of the project is to support efforts to develop a binational watershed management plan to protect the environment and promote sustainable development in this complex and dynamic transborder region. By early 2015, the U.S. and Mexican sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission had drafted a minute to the 1944 U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty to provide a framework agreement for binational cooperation on Tijuana River Watershed management issues. The minute will likely be signed during 2015.