Blanco-Libreros J.F.

Helping HELP with limited resources: the Luquillo experience

Scatena, F.N.; Ortiz-Zayas, JR; Blanco-Libreros, J.F. 2008. Helping HELP with limited resources: the Luquillo experience. Water SA. 34(4 special HELP edition): 497-508.

By definition the HELP approach involves the active participation of individuals from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds, including representatives of industry, academics, natural resource managers, and local officials and community leaders. While there is considerable enthusiasm and support for the integrated HELP approach, a central problem for all HELP basins is how to effectively engage individuals and groups with few, if any financial resources. In the Luquillo HELP project we have managed this issue by focusing our efforts on holding small, public meetings and workshops with technocrats and managers who are engaged in local water resource management. To date several forums have been organised, including: technical meetings with the directors of natural resource agencies; presentations and panel discussions at the meetings of local professional societies, including the societies of Civil Engineers and Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Tourism, the Association of Builders and Developers, and the Puerto Rican Association of Lawyers. During these forums HELP specialists gave presentations and led discussions on how integrated watershed management can help resolve local problems. Because the audience are directly involved with these issues, they are quite responsive to these discussions and have often provided unique solutions to common problems. Technical workshops are co-sponsored by local municipalities – these day-long workshops are hosted by a municipality and include managers from other municipalities, the local water authority, and local community leaders. Additional activities include: technical advice on water infrastructure projects is given; there are educational exchanges between local and international students, scientists, natural resource managers, and community leaders; and synthesis publications relevant to integrated water resource management are produced. Other activities have included compiling oral environmental histories and organising watershed restoration activities. This paper describes these activities and discusses the benefits and costs of each approach.

Banana Crop Expansion and Increased River-borne Sediment Exports to the Gulf of Uraba, Caribbean Coast of Colombia

Blanco-Livreros, J.F. 2009. Banana Crop Expansion and Increased River-borne Sediment Exports to the Gulf of Uraba, Caribbean Coast of Colombia. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 38(3):181-183. 2009. doi: 10.1579/0044-7447-38.3.181.

Sedimentation is a major environmental issue in the Gulf of Uraba´ (southern Caribbean coast of Colombia) (1), yet driving forces and influences on coastal ecosystems are poorly known by local scientists and natural resource managers. This is partially a result of the small temporal and spatial windows employed in scientific studies and management strategies that hide the complex interactions among hydrologic, geographic, and socioeconomic processes operating at basin level. For instance, sediment accumulation in the nearshore has been managed at a local scale by dredging access channels in shoaling areas and by constructing barriers to prevent littoral erosion at other sites, with little recognition of sediment sources and transport (2). Moreover, causes of such problems have not been investigated throughout entire river basins, several of which are world-class producers of banana, and therefore become potential sources of sediments to be transported to the coastal zone. Elsewhere, conversion of native forest to agriculture lands has been implicated as a major driver of increased land erosion and sediment yields (3). Specifically, deforestation and urbanization may have accounted for a positive trend in sediment delivery to the Caribbean Sea through the Magdalena River basin, Colombia’s largest system (4). Agricultural lands doubled in area between 1970 and 1990, while sediment loads increased in 17 out of 32 river subbasins. Maximum water discharge and a deforestation index explained 96% of the variation in sediment yield across the upper Magdalena basin. Here, I discuss the hypothesis that sediment yields in the Uraba´ region are greater in river basins with extensive banana crops than in basins under other land covers.
Syndicate content