Posts Tagged Freshwater monitoring

Watershed Weekend Preparation

Meandering Rio Grande

Water is an essential part of all life. On Saturday June 26,th 2010, Ya’axché is preparing and will be hosting a fun-filled Watershed Weekend. The main purpose of this event is to raise awareness and educate the communities about Toledo’s watersheds. Interactive and fune learning experiences will actively involve the communities that lie within or buffer the Maya Golden Landscape  (MGL) and to raise awareness of how the quality of their watershed affects the quality of their lives.  

This idea of such an event was first brought up to educate and raise  

River

awareness among the communities about watersheds. This event is designed to show the importance of fresh water in their communities. Not only are the rivers used for daily washing, bathing, farming and drinking but also play an essential role in maintaining the diversity of wildlife. If these resources are not preserved or managed in a sustainable manner, it then becomes a problem. Rivers serve as a habitat for semi and aquatic vertebrates and invertebrates. You are welcome to participate in this event: learn more about your watershed, have a fun day and see how Ya’axché contributes to watershed protection and management. Most importantly, learn what you can do to improve the quality of water in your community.  

Rio Grande River

The Watershed Weekend promises to be a very fun-filled day but also a very informative one for both children and adults. For the children, activities like water-balloon fights, slip and slide, tug of war, apple-bobbing, trivia and many other water related games will be happening. And not to forget the adults,  we have apple-bobbing games, kayak racing on the Golden Stream River and many other watershed themed games.  

On display will be a big watershed model, real life weird and wonderful river creatures fresh from our neighborhood rivers, and the premier of “Rivers to Reef” and Ajax film highlighting throughout the world the interconnectivity of rivers and watersheds to other ecosystems. Meet Ya’axché rangers who will be giving presentations on Hicatees, the Critically Endangered Central American river turtle and freshwater monitoring techniques. The winner of the Healthy Watershed Poster Design Competition will be revealed and entries displayed; the winning design will be printed onto T-shirts and these T-shirts will be presented to participants in the competition from the schools involved.  

Snacks will be provided. Food and drinks will be on sale provided by Medina Bank Parent Teacher Association to help raise funds. A free bus will be running through the villages of San Miguel, Silver Creek, Indian Creek, Golden Stream, Tambran, Medina Bank, Bladen and Trio for interested persons.  

Mark the 26,th of June 2010 as a must-attend event on your calendar. It promises to be one of massive learning and tons of fun for the family.  

This event was made possible with the aid of the UNDP COMPACT project and the U.S National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

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Freshwater Bio-monitoring in Southern Belize

Freshwater Bio-monitoring

Freshwater bio-monitoring is integral to watershed management throughout the developed world. Nonetheless, many tropical developing countries, including Belize, lack formal procedures and methods for monitoring and managing water quality. Therefore, we are pleased to announce that, with funding from Rufford Small Grants Foundation, Ya’axché will be facilitating research to develop cost-effective bio-monitoring systems for tropical rivers.

This research will investigate natural biological variability and variation in response to anthropogenic impact to contribute to the development of monitoring tools that are able to indicate river health. It will provide a crucialcomponent to the development of standardized and cost effective methods, allowing those interested in the management of freshwater ecosystems to monitor impacts and evaluate the effectiveness of management activities.

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Funding for Freshwater Research and Monitoring

Some good news for Ya’axche’s research and monitoring efforts and Belize’s freshwater systems this week…

Ms. Rachael Carrie, Ya’axche’s Freshwater Ecologist has secured funding from the Natural Environment (NERC) and Economic and Social Research Councils (ESRC) of the United Kingdom to develop biological assessment tools to assess human impact on the threatened rivers of Belize.

Whilst earning a Doctorate degree through Lancaster University, Ms. Carrie,  with the support of the Freshwater Biological Association of the UK and Ya’axche’, will seek to 1) develop ways in which communities and NGOs can monitor  human impacts on riverine health, and 2) measure the effectiveness of conservation efforts taken to maintain, restore and enhance ecosystem function.

Beautiful Rio Grande in Southern Belize (photo from Ya'axche)

Beautiful Rio Grande in Southern Belize (photo from Ya'axche)

Growing awareness that our planet’s freshwater ecosystems are in crisis as a result of human activities has led to the corresponding global need to design and test new, scientifically and socially robust methods for sustainable ecosystem management. This need calls for the development of economical, yet rigorous aquatic monitoring and assessment techniques which measure the effects of complex and cumulative human impacts and enable their effective management. Nowhere is the need more acute than in the culturally and biologically diverse tropics, where the impacts of poorly planned urbanization, agricultural expansion and intensification are exacerbated by inadequate infrastructure, resources and technical expertise.

The freshwater biodiversity of Latin American and the Caribbean is one of the most diverse on earth.  However, in many countries, such as Belize, there exists a scarcity of baseline information pertaining to almost every aspect of freshwater biodiversity. This research will use Belize as a case study to develop an interdisciplinary approach for the sustainable biological monitoring of tropical rivers.

Ya'axche's Freshwater Monitoring Team Hard at Work

Ya'axche's Freshwater Monitoring Team Hard at Work

The need for this research was identified by Ya’axche, TIDE, the Forest and Fisheries Department’s of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, The Nature Conservancy and Fauna and Flora International during a structured Conservation Action Planning process for the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor.  Ya’axche’ is thrilled to partner with Ms. Carrie, Lancaster University and the NERC and ESRC to work towards achieveing the objectives of this important regional Strategy and to build on and enhance their existing research and monitoring programme in the Maya Golden Landscape.

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