Snowbirds vs. Snowbirds
Vivo Resorts advertises itself as the number 1 water ski resort in the world, a claim that makes the fishermen, birdwatchers, and environmentalists on the Manialtepec lagoon bristle. If it were up to them there would be no waterskiing on the lagoon, and the thought of more motorboats has put at least part of the lagoon community into protest mode.
Vivo is being built in El Palmarito, a strip of land in Bajos de Chila that separates the lagoon from the Pacific. But what separates el Palmarito from the lagoon is a mangrove forest. It is now a 20-minute drive to the north side of the lagoon where the nearest dock located.
The forest and the lagoon are federally protected under a 2007 environmental protection law that specifically prohibits the cutting of mangroves. In September workers began cutting a road through the mangroves on land near the Vivo project in order to build a marina on the south side of the lagoon. The project was stopped by the federal environmental protection secretariat (Semarnat) and by the municipality of San Pedro Mixtepec. But work has continued sporadically despite the official closure.
Any changes to the lagoon would affect the livelihood of the zone’s 200 registered fishermen who cast their nets from canoes, besides endangering the habitat of the migratory birds and the local flora and fauna. Officials of the local communities and members of environmental groups are meeting to plan protests to draw attention to the problem.