May 13, 2016

Welcome to Rio! The Guanabara Bay first stakeholder workshop

Rio de Janeiro is a Brazilian State with vibrant cities (including the one with the same name) along the shore of Guanabara Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Guanabara Bay is highly impacted system due to a large population leading to sewage and trash pollution. The State of Rio and State of Maryland have a partnership of learning between their similar bays, Guanabara Bay and Chesapeake Bay, in order to promote opportunities for restoration to achieve economic, social, and environmental benefits. As a part of this partnership, UMCES, KCI, and PSAM (Environmental Sanitation Program of the municipalities surrounding the Guanabara Bay), with support from the Inter-American Development Bank, are working to develop the first report card for Guanabara Bay.

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The view of Rio de Janeiro and Guanabara Bay from Sugarloaf Mountain.

On April 25th 2016, Bill Dennison, Dave Nemazie, and I held the first report card stakeholder workshop at INEA (Instituto Estadual do Ambiente) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Our colleagues from KCI Technologies, Inc.; Bob Summers and Joao Coimbra also assisted in the workshop. The workshop was hosted by Marcio Santarosa and Guido Gelli, two key partners we are working with, from PSAM. This first stakeholder workshop brought together about twenty people from a number of organizations.

Some of the participants at the stakeholder workshop on Monday April 25th at INEA.

Some of the participants at the stakeholder workshop on Monday April 25th at INEA.

During the meeting we went over the report card process, including covering steps 1 – 3 as a group. We conceptualized the system using maps to show areas of the key values and threats. All of the maps were combined into a conceptual diagram of the Bay and it’s basins.

Describing values and threats in Guanabara Bay and it’s basins using the projected map.

Describing values and threats in Guanabara Bay and it’s basins using the projected map.

A conceptual diagram showing the values and threats in Guanabara Bay.

A conceptual diagram showing the values and threats in Guanabara Bay.

We worked on separating both the Bay and the basins surrounding it into reporting regions for the report card. Working as a group, we came up with five regions in the bay and six basins in the watershed.

The five regions of the Bay (left) and six regions of the basin (right).

The five regions of the Bay (left) and six regions of the basin (right).

We discussed indicators to include in the report card and came up with many interesting indicators. In addition to more standard water quality indicators, additional indicators being considered include sea horses, marine mammals, and the level of contamination of crabs.

The results of this initial workshop were compiled into a newsletter, which we had reviewed by the group and printed in time for our large meeting on Friday April 29th at the Museum of Tomorrow. The newsletter is available for download in both English and Portuguese on our IAN Press site.

The cover of the workshop newsletter.

The cover of the workshop newsletter.

Overall, the targeted session was extremely successful, and further work with a group of stakeholders will inform the final Guanabara Bay report card.

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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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