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NCI’s Watershed Protection Program a Continued Success
December 2008

The purchase of critical areas, the generation of funds, and environmental education all help to conserve watersheds

In the southern Ecuador municipalities of Macará, Celica, and Puyango, NCI has successfully purchased a number of new areas critical to the protection of the water supply for thousands of people. In Macará, 460 acres were purchased, while in Celica and Puyango, 250 acres and 24 acres were purchased, respectively. These purchases protect 11% of the area of interest in Macará, and 20% of the area of interest in Celica. In Puyango, the municipal government purchased three additional areas within the watershed as well, and together with NCI’s purchase, 21% of the watershed is now protected.

Besides directly protecting water resources, these purchases will drive the municipalities to create a number of ordinances establishing conservation programs in the region. Each municipality will be empowered with the management of the purchased areas through the guidance of NCI, and management funds will be generated through water tax ordinances that we are currently creating. The next step is the creation of the Regional Water Fund to enable the municipalities of southern Ecuador to purchase thousands of additional acres in the near future to further strengthen watershed protection in the region.

We are also working with local students through our environmental education program to instill upon them concepts of environmental responsibility, conservation, restoration, and resource management. In Celica, the municipality has built an environmental education cabin on the NCI property within the watershed, affording students hands-on learning experiences and a stronger connection to their water resources. Our goal is to create a new generation of conservationists that will promote the benefits of land preservation and the environmental services provided by intact ecosystems.

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