July 23, 2015

The Meta River Report Card Workshop – The Orinoco River Basin, Colombia

This blog is part of the Basin Report Card Initiative: a partnership between the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)

On June 29th, 2015, Simon Costanzo and I traveled from Bogota, Colombia to Puerto Lopez, Colombia for the Meta River Report Card Workshop. The workshop spanned from June 30th-July 2nd, and was the first of three workshops that will occur in Colombia, to develop report cards for three tributaries of the Orinoco River. Along with Simon, Sarah Freeman, and Catherine Blancard from the WWF office in Washington DC, also traveled to and attended the meeting.

The lakes surrounding Puerto Lopez, Colombia.

The lakes surrounding Puerto Lopez, Colombia.

There were 19 organizations in attendance with over 40 participants, all helping to identify the environmental, social, and economic indicators that make up the Meta River Report Card.

 A large group participated in the workshop.

A large group participated in the workshop.

Simon speaking about the report card process.

Simon speaking about the report card process.

Outcomes from the meeting included:

  1. Identification, and ranking by importance, of environmental, social and economic values within the Meta River basin.
  2. Identification, and ranking by importance, of threats to identified values within the Meta River basin.
  3. Choice of indicators for measuring/reporting the status of these values and threats.
  4. Assignment of key personnel to work on developing each indicator and defining benchmarks for scoring against.
  5. A time line through to completion and public release in early 2016.

Participants worked together to evaluate the values and threats to the Meta River basin, and identified over 60 potential indicators to assess river status.

Determining the values of and threats to the Meta River.

Determining the values of and threats to the Meta River.

The indicators were narrowed down to the most important ones, by cost effectiveness, future viability, sensitivity to change, relevance to management actions, and data availability.

Fifteen indicators were chosen for the Meta River Report Card.

Fifteen indicators were chosen for the Meta River Report Card.

After the workshop ended, nine members of the team from UMCES, WWF, and WWF Colombia all went horseback riding in the surrounding countryside. It was the perfect way to end the workshop, although we were very sore on the bus back to Bogota the next day!

Horseback riding after the workshop.

Horseback riding after the workshop.

The view from the top of the hill.

The view from the top of the hill.

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About the author
Alexandra Fries is a Science Communicator at the Integration and Application Network. Alex has a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University.
Website: http://ian.umces.edu/people/Alexandra_Fries/
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