Ecosystems:

Patagonia steppe and Atlantic coast, with sections of canyons, marshy areas, steep bluffs and rocky beaches.

Carbon sequestered:

203,400 metric tons

Important conservation attributes:

Large nesting and breeding colonies of marine birds and mammals, the endangered and endemic white-headed flightless steamer duck, other species that are threatened and close to endangered like Olrog’s gull and Magellanic penguin, important stop-over sites for endangered migratory bird species like the Red knot and ruddy-headed goose.

Outstanding attractions:

Boat trips to view marine birds and mammals; Cabo Raso, Cabo Dos Bahías and Bahia Bustamante; snorkeling and diving in forests and meadows of algae and around islands and to explore shipwrecks.

Coordination Team:

Diana Friedrich
Patagonia Azul Project Coordinator

Diana is a naturalist and adventurer. She received a degree in Nature Conservation in South Africa, that led her to work in several nature reserves in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania. She was the field coordinator for the Macá Tobiano (hooded grebe) Project, an initiative of Aves Argentinas, for three seasons and worked as a field technician on Rewilding Argentina’s projects to reintroduce giant anteaters and red-and-green macaws. Currently she lives in Camarones and coordinates the Patagonia Azul project.

Lucas Beltramino
Coordinator of Rewilding for the Patagonia Azul project

Lucas is a digital technician, professional diver, and sailor with a degree in Biological Science.  For his doctorate, he studied the behavior and bio-energy of two species of Argentine marine fish, the mero (Argentine seabass) and the salmon (Argentine sandperch). For six years, he participated in the Southern Right Whale Health Monitoring Program and was a sailing instructor. Currently, he coordinates and carries out rewilding work for the Patagonia Azul Project.

PATAGONIA AZUL

An explosion of life between sea and land

Photo: Rafa Abuin

The future Patagonia Azul (Blue Patagonia) Park is located on the coast in the province of Chubut, within the Patagonia Azul Biosphere Reserve, which inspired the project’s name. In the area, more than 60 islands and protected bays serve as an important feeding area and nesting and breeding ground for many species of marine birds and mammals. This region is a great opportunity for the conservation and restoration of the environment and of many endangered species, via the process of rewilding.

The Coastal Marine Interjurisdictional Park of Southern Patagonia or PIMCPA is the starting point from which we plan to reinforce and expand the protection of coastal and marine ecosystems, using the model of Nature Production.

PATAGONIA AZUL

A biodiversity hotspot

Photo: Beth Wald

The future Patagonia Azul Park will protect a stretch of coast and coastal waters that is one of areas richest in wildlife of the entire Argentine coast. This reserve will become part of the Blue Route, which will cover around 200 kilometers of jagged coastline and will include over 60 islands. Of the sixteen species of marine birds that nest along the Argentine coast, thirteen nest in this area in twenty-one breeding colonies, each of which contain from one to seven species of birds. Some of these are the Southern giant petrel, the Imperial cormorant, the Magellanic cormorant, the endemic Chubut steamer duck and Olrog’s gull. The colony of sea lions on the islands numbers around 4000 animals, which is 20% of the entire population that inhabits this area in the gulf of San Jorge. The richness and abundance of the marine region also attracts whales, orcas and dolphins, while guanacos, rheas, the endemic mara and armadillos range across the land.

However, the introduction of exotic species —rabbits, domestic cats and rats— onto the islands threatens its fragile environments and the colonies of marine birds which have developed on them. In addition, the collection of algae to make agar has deteriorated the sea bed which has had serious impacts on the biologic biodiversity that the forests of algae in this marine zone harbor.

Through Rewilding, our goal is to eliminate the threats that loom over these island environments and their colonies of marine birds, through the eradication of exotic species and by implementing the first restoration of submarine environments in the country, via the regeneration of the forests of algae that once thrived on these sea beds.

REGENERATIVE ECONOMY

Photo: Darío Podestá

In Patagonia Azul, our vision is to create public access gateways or entrances to the Coastal Marine Interjurisdictional Park of Southern Patagonia and the Blue Patagonia Biosphere Reserve, with the objective to develop a nature tourism destination, with services and tourism offerings for visitors of the world who want to experience the beauty and biodiversity of Patagonia.

Our local team works with the municipality of Camarones and with the Ministry of Tourism and Protected Areas of Chubut to develop proposals and plans to promote Camarones, Blue Patagonia and the Blue Patagonia Scenic Route as tourism destinations. These destinations and scenic routes will boost the regional economies due to their unique natural scenery and the richness of terrestrial and marine wildlife.

COMMUNITIES

A culture embedded in the sea and the steppe

The Sea Club. Photo: Maike Friedrich

Patagonia Azul Project seeks to promote the restoration of ecosystems and the transformation of the local economy from extractive to restorative to confront the extinction crisis. The objective is to create soundly managed parks on land and sea, restore ecosystems, and boost a local regenerative economy within the rich coastal ecosystem of Patagonia Azul.

Transition Movement

In our work with the community of Camarones, we participate as active members and volunteers and support a local transition initiative. In the quest for local resilience, the group has joined the global movement of communities to reimagine and rebuild our world by nurturing a caring culture.

The first step was to create an ambitious urban agriculture project to grow food locally, organically, with a low carbon footprint, in intensive systems that enhance biodiversity. Our mission is to change the way locals relate to food and each other while we learn more about our productive environment, water sources, and climate.

The Patagonia Azul team and members from the community of Camarones work on the construction of the main greenhouse of CHISPA agroecological project. Photo: Maike Friedrich

Regenerative Ocean Farming

We are developing a Regenerative Ocean Farming initiative to develop farms with native edible and carbon-sequestering seaweed and ocean-filtering bivalves. Farms will create employment while producing healthy food that requires zero input and adds life to the areas where it is done.

Ocean Club

Since many of the people in Camarones do not interact with the ocean, we created the Ocean Club. In weekly sessions, we invite children to discover the marine environment through activities such as snorkeling, birdwatching, kayaking, stretching, breath work, and mindfulness. The objective is to strengthen their connection with the ocean so that they can understand it better.

Kids from Camarones attend the Sea Club meetings that our local Communities team carry out weekly to show them the marine environment and thus help protect it. Photo: Maike Friedrich

Environmental Council

Patagonia Azul supports social inclusion, community cohesion, and resilience through the transition initiative and the joint creation of a local environmental council. The creation of local groups adds social strength and resilience. Rewilding Argentina, Transition Camarones, Amigos del Mar, and the National Parks Administration are represented in the environmental council and the executive and legislative branches of government.

Creating this council brings together local institutions and the government to work towards environmental betterment and effectively discuss ways forward. We made a prioritization of a list of 15 environmental projects in Camarones (new bills, reducing/managing trash, regulating the use of freshwater, promotion of local food production, regulation of industrial activities). As part of a strategy to increase social inclusion and community cohesion, transparency and sociocracy, Transition Camarones has offered a series of workshops on effective, non-violent communication methods, sociocracy and consent decision making.