FUNDACION RIOS TROPICALES is a private, non-profit organization working under the auspices of the outdoor adventure company, Ríos Tropicales. It was founded in 1994 because of the increasing concern over the hydroelectric projects proposed on the Pacuare and Reventazón Rivers, and the well-being of the surrounding communities. The Foundation functions independently; however, the issues on which it focuses are of interest to the majority of the customers of Ríos Tropicales and all river runners, as well as to all environmentally concerned individuals.

OUR MISSION is to preserve, protect and restore Costa Rica's rivers, streams and watersheds. In doing so, we hope to create local environmental awareness of river issues, support environmental activities and projects that promote sustainable development and environmental education, and fund more thorough studies of our aquatic systems.

OUR MAIN FOCUS is to defend the Pacuare and Reventazón Rivers from the detrimental impact of a short-sighted, large-scale hydroelectric project. The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) has proposed this development to satisfy the growing demands for energy in Costa Rica and other parts of Central America. The Environmental Impact Assessment has been completed, reviewed and passed in favor of ICE. The only issue holding up construction is the negotiations with the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) for a colossal loan.

THE SIQUIRRES DAM, a 180 mts. (590.5 ft) tall structure on the Pacuare River, will be located precisely at the scenic ravine of Dos Montañas in the Río Pacuare Protected Zone. The Guayabo Dam, a 43.5 mts (142.7 ft) tall structure on the Reventazón River, will be located 8 km northeast of Turrialba in an area called Guayabo. A 9.6 km (5.9 m) tunnel will conduct the waters from the Guayabo Dam to the Siquirres Dam for efficient energy production in the dry season. By the year 2003, the Guayabo Dam will have an installed capacity of 245 MW. By 2005, the Siquirres Dam will have an installed capacity of 412 MW. The majority of the energy generated by this megaproject will possibly be exported to neighboring countries. By 2010 a total of four new dams will exist on these rivers, two on the Reventazón (one of which is currently under construction), and two on the Pacuare.

THE SOCIOPOLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS of this project are devastating. Currently, ecotourism rates as the number one source of income for Costa Rica. The Pacuare and Reventazón Rivers lie in the heart of the ecotourism activities in the Atlantic region. The Pacuare is considered one of the world's top ten white water runs with class III, IV and V rapids along a spectacular route within virgin forests. The Siquirres dam will flood 12.5 km of these rapids, as well as the primary forests along the river, where an unlimited number of plant and tree species exist. It is estimated that about 100 species of reptiles, almost 500 species of birds, close to 120 species of mammals and nearly 80 species of amphibians inhabit these forests, too. The ultra sensitive estuaries contributing to the Tortuguero Canals on the Atlantic coast will be seriously altered by the changes in water fluctuation. The Cabécar Indians of the Awari Indigenous Reserve also face a loss of lands on which they depend on for their livelihood.

WITH YOUR SUPPORT, we must initiate a variety of plans and activities to defend the Turrialba regions and save the Pacuare and Reventazón Rivers. Donations will contribute to lobbying campaigns aimed at the IDB, and the Costa Rican government; to environmental projects and activities with the schools of the region; environmental management and awareness programs; as well as, the funding of further environmental studies of the area and the search for alternative sources of energy for Costa Rica.

SUSTAINABILITY IS THE KEY to this nation's future. The Pacuare River has remained pristine, untouched and free-flowing for millions of years. An average dam has an efficiency lifespan between 40 and 60 years. If the IDB, World Bank, ICE and the government of Costa Rica all believe in the sustainability ethic, why are the voices of the rivers being ignored?

HELP US NOW prevent the destruction of the Pacuare and Reventazón Rivers.

 

 

Regional River Environmental Education Pilot Project

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Special thanks to Costa Rica's TravelNet for posting this page as a community service


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