|Town/Region||El Cercado Dam, El Cerrejón Mine, Ranchería River|
|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Categories||Biodiversity, Conflict, Plants|
|Date||8 Jan 2020|
The Ranchería River is the most important river of La Guajira, Colombia. It is river is endangered because has two big project that affect it negative. El Cerrejón, that is an open pit coal mine that has been operating since 1985 with current extraction area is 69,000 hectares and its daily extraction reaches 108 tons of coal. Aditionally in 2011 the dam “El Cercado” was inaugurated in the upper reaches of the Ranchería River. Those big projects have changed the vegetation and quality of water.
The Cerrejón has dried at least 14 tributaries of the Ranchería River, and it is known it has contaminated water, affected vegetation, and altered the health of local population (most of them Wayuú indigenous people), with the dust of mineral coal and the daily detonation of explosives in each of its pits. Additionally, the construction of the dam generated the deviation of the Ranchería river, changing the stream direction and its biophysical conditions. Today, the dam has not generated the planned irrigation districts, rather it has generated diverse social conflicts for water in the region.
Basically, I will carry out samplings of the seeds transported by the river in order to obtain data of diversity, numbers of individuals per species of seed, in two climatic seasons (dry and rainy seasons), and in different places along the river. The intention is to detect any difference in the number of seeds and the number of species dispersed before and after an anthropogenic impact, in this case, a dam and a coal mining area. We will also proceed to take chemical and physical water measurements at each study site (temperature, dissolved solids, ph, heavy metal analysis).
We hope that this information will be a base line for start different programs about conservation and restoration in the riparian vegetation. Also is very important generate information about the ecology and biodiversity for the La Guajira region because is a region without information about their biodiversity and ecology. This information could support communities in their struggle to save the watershed of Rancheria River.
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