Nicoya Breaks Paradigms by Intervening a Wetland To Benefit the Ecosystem and Surrounding Communities

    In line with the country’s commitment to sustainable development

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    In Nicoya, the Local Government, together with a diversity of public institutions and hand in hand with the communities, have understood that the desire to conserve the natural wealth of the canton does not have to conflict with the social welfare of the peoples; and it is because of this that, for some time now, a sector of the Palustrino Corral de Piedra Wetland has been intervening with machinery and manual work.

    The works are concentrated in the “Callejón del Arreo” of the Pozo de Agua Lagoon, with 4 fundamental objectives:

    Rehabilitate the natural conditions of the wetland: -which is also Ramsar category and therefore of international importance- by cleaning the main estuaries and the branches that come from the Tempisque River, so that when the tide rises there is a good ebb and flow of the waters, especially during the summer.

    Prevent the appearance of mosquito pests: because, if the ebbs are not correct, the water stagnates, loses its properties and creates the ideal environment for the larvae of the mosquito Aedes Adenorincus to burst.

    Preserve the water mirror to create a suitable ecosystem: so that migratory and resident birds that travel from South America to North America throughout the year have in that habitat where to feed, reproduce, etc.

    Allowing the towns to exploit the tourist potential: generated by the natural spectacle of migratory birds, artisanal fishing and rural activities in the area.

    Broken paradigms

    José Carlos Leal Rivera, Administrator of the protected wild area “Refugio Nacional de Vida Matarredonda” of the Palustrino Corral de Piedra Wetland (SINAC), explained that, through these efforts, “Paradigms have been broken at the conservation level, since seeing heavy machinery and people working with machetes, with subsidies in a protected area, is not normal at the level of conservation area systems. There are many very radical people, who say that it should not be touched, period, but we have opened ourselves looking for the Ramsar line, that the wetland is to conserve it, but also to use it by the people of the communities, to obtain all these ecosystem benefits”, he states.

    “All this allows the communities to have these scenarios where rural community tourism, bird watching, artisanal rope fishing are developed, neither trammel or nets are allowed, so that allows the communities can generate income,” he added.

    Through the National Employment Program (PRONAE) of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, currently 25 people in the community carry out conservation works cleaning the wetland estuaries for 2 months.

    “These people work with machetes, cutting the Tifa, which is an invasive plant species, along with the Bramble and the Palo Verde and another that they call Ñanga; and are one of the 5 most invasive and most negative species in wetlands, so that it must be cut to reveal the natural water mirror”, explained the Tempisque Conservation Area official.

    For the well-being of all the inhabitants

    These rehabilitation work in the wetland are financed mainly by the Municipality of Nicoya, which at the beginning of the year contributed 4 million colones for the project. “The Local Government is interested in the well-being of the Nicoyans and we consider that these tasks of cleaning the original channels provide benefits for the canton from an environmental, social and even economic point of view by promoting possibilities of entrepreneurship in the area surrounding the wetland”, commented Carlos Armando Martínez Arias, Mayor of Nicoya.

    “One of the benefits that is most quickly perceived is that of mitigating the appearance of mosquito pests Aedes Adenorincus, which fortunately does not cause any disease, but whose presence in unimaginable quantities is a source of discomfort for many residents of the wetland. For this year, thank God, there is no foreseeable outbreak of mosquitoes beyond what is normal in wetlands, and that alone is already a source of joy for many communities”, said the Mayor.

    It is worth mentioning that the sediment that is removed from the channel with backhoes, is piled up forming a kind of islands where originally – and according to the community – the so-called “stiff”, that is, the highest part of the lagoon stand for the cattle and therefore also the birds.

    All these works with inter-institutional participation are developed hand in hand with the integral development associations, producers and other forces in the region, who in the end are the main beneficiaries of the improvements generated in the wetland.

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