IAN's first report card in South America: the Orinoco River Basin

Alexandra Fries ·
26 July 2016
Environmental Report Cards |     2 comments

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.

Orinoco River Report Card cover.
Orinoco River Report Card cover.

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.

Maloka Museum in Bogota, Colombia.
Maloka Museum in Bogota, Colombia.

The director of WWF Colombia, Mary Lou Higgens speaking at the event.
The director of WWF Colombia, Mary Lou Higgins speaking at the event.

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).

Luis German Naranjo presenting the results of the report card.
Luis German Naranjo presenting the results of the report card.

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.

Simon Costanzo and Sarah Freemen speaking at the event.
Simon Costanzo and Sarah Freeman speaking at the event.

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.

How well do you know the Orinoco interactive game.
How well do you know the Orinoco interactive game.

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.

Traditional food served at the event.
Traditional food served at the event.

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.

 

 

About the author

Alexandra Fries

Alexandra is a Program Manager at the Integration and Application Network (IAN) based at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Annapolis MD. Alexandra’s work in environmental management has been focused on assessment, monitoring, and management of aquatic, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems. Alexandra has extensive experience in data analysis, synthesis, mapping, interpretation, and communication. Alexandra has experience working with a diverse group of partners including those in local, state, and federal government, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, private industry, and academia. Within IAN, Alexandra conducts data analysis, synthesis, and communication by completing environmental report cards, updating the IAN website, and conducting science communication courses. Alexandra also creates science communication materials such as diagrams, posters, presentations, newsletters, and reports using Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, and ArcGIS. Alexandra has experience managing projects and staff on local and international projects, liaising directly with partners and colleagues, and providing insights on project direction and goals.



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Comments

  • ExpandERP 5 years ago

    In these days the need to be environmentally conscious need not be overemphasized. River basins are an interesting facet of the ecosystem and I am glad that people are waking up and taking note of them.
    PS: The reception was a great idea

  • Amelia Roster 5 years ago

    Thanks for creating this report card and evaluating the condition of the Orinoco river basin. Though it scored moderately a lot of work still has to be done in some of the parts of the basin. The quiz and the serving of traditional food was also a fun touch.

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