This blog is part of the Basin Report Card Initiative: a partnership between the World Wide Fund (WWF) and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)
The Orinoco River Basin report card was released on July 6th, 2016 in Bogota, Colombia. This is the first report card in South America, and the first report card developed as a part of the partnership between WWF and UMCES. WWF and UMCES have created a partnership and program called the Basin Report Card Initiative to expand report card uptake and use in major river basins of the world.
Simon Costanzo and I, along with Sarah Freeman from WWF US traveled to Colombia for the report card release. The event was held at the Maloka Museum in Bogota and over 100 people attended. It featured several short Orinoco River films, a few key speakers, and an interactive, ‘How well do you know the Orinoco River?’ game that 80 people participated in.
Luis German Naranjo, from WWF Colombia revealed the report card results. Overall the Orinoco River Basin received a B- (3.2 in Colombian grading scale). While this is moderately good health, more action is needed to protect healthy areas of the basin (Tomo and Mataven) and restore degraded areas (Upper Meta).
Simon Costanzo and Sarah Freeman spoke at the event about the great work done by WWF Colombia, Humboldt Institute, and Omacha Foundation to complete the report card. They also congratulated all of the stakeholders throughout the basin who came together to make the report card possible.
There was fun to be had at the event as well. An interactive game in the style of “Who wants to be a millionaire?” was played by over 80 of the release participants.
After the more formal portion of the event, there was a reception with traditional food and fruit juices from the Orinoco basin. The reception was highlighted with large photographs from different sub-basins in the Orinoco.
Overall the Orinoco River Basin scored a B-, a moderately good grade. At the sub-basin scale, results showed a strong west-east gradient in scores as the Upper Meta had the poorest grade, whereas the Mataven had the highest grade. The differences between west and east portions of the Orinoco basin are distinguished by development pressure in the west, resulting in poorer water quality, and significant changes to the landscape. For more information on the report card please visit the website: orinocoriver.ecoreportcard.org.