According to NOAH, bar-built or restricted -mouth estuaries occur when sandbars or barrier Islands are built up by ocean waves and currents along coastal areas fed by one or more rivers or streams. The rivers or streams flowing into bar- built estuaries typically have very low water volume during most of the year. Under these conditions bars may grow into barrier beaches or islands.
The sources of the water for the estuary system behind Isla Tortuga are the tides of the Pacific Ocean and the monsoon rains that fall on the mountains NE of the estuary during the summer months. Because there is no permanent river draining into this estuary, the waters of the Platanitos Ecological Reserve and thus the waters surrounding Isla Tortuga are not contaminated by any urban centers or industry.
Between 1975 and 1985 the Mexican Government subsidized the planting of coconut palms on Isla Tortuga and the surrounding area. These palms continue to produce today and will continue to do so for another 40 years. The root systems of the palm trees are a stabilizing factor for the soils of the island.
In 1996, the ownership of the property was privatized. Having settled in the area in 1995, Dr. Min Labanauskas saw the potential and vulnerability of this property. Together with partners, purchased it from the local owner. From 1996 to 2007, Dr. Labanauskas worked with local authorities and the environmental department of the state and federal government. Strict zoning restrictions were enacted on the area surrounding Isla Tortuga, the coastline known as Costa Custodio (Coast of the Guardian). The Guardian references the centuries old fig tree that stands watch over this 10 mile stretch of pristine beaches, the small fishing village of Platanitos, and the verdant jungle hills sloping down to the ocean.
In 2007, Dr. Min Labanauskas and Mona Rains purchased the property from the original partnership with the intention of building a boutique hotel or glamping site on the property. Other priorities have brought them to the decision to sell the property to someone who is as passionate as they were during their years of living in the area and working to develop this coastline as “Custodios” or guardians of the land.