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Re: your opinion about vehicles on the beach

Posted by Dorrie on February 28, 2008, 11:51 am, in reply to "Re: your opinion about vehicles on the beach"

I like the idea of using some of the water- rounded fill from the arroyo to add a few metres of road bed around the edge of the lagoon. It's temporary. It's low tech, fixable if it's a mistake. It's a material which fits in: it's not sharp or alien. Every year the delagation removes stones washed down by the arroyo during the rains and dropped by the currents along the playa. You can see this done in Sept. and Oct. Otherwise no sandy playa for the tourists in November, no tourist income for the people here.

For me it's reasonable to open the boca of both the arroyo and the lagoon to prevent flooding. This town, like many I can think of, is built on the flood plain, next to an estuary. What matters to me is that the functions of the lagoon and the arroyo estuary are not compromised. They are the nurseries for the chacales, and other invertebrates as well as fish which nourish the rest of the animals.

I think the the major(ecological) mistakes were made years ago: when the edge of the dunes/mangrove was cleared off for cocoa palms, and then a "back" road was constructed to Boca de Iguana. This road facilitates the urban development which inevitably follows agricultural clearing, and more critically, acts as a dike, preventing the mangrove's waters from flowing out to the ocean in a number of places,naturally. The land on the road's western side has dried out, stopping the extension of the mangroves vegetation toward the sea. The playa dunes and mangroves form one integrated ecosystem, for which all it's inhabitants are suited. For example; crocodile mamas sometimes like to lay their eggs just behind the dunes.

We have divided, drained, fenced, farmed and flattened parts of this whole, so now it is a dis-integrated ecosystem, and it's inhabitants have some serious problems as a result. The houses on the beach, and the extension of the lots' boundaries beyond the dunes - thus "permitting" the destruction of a protected zone, is one of many insults we have directed at this beautiful place.

When you drive to Boca, and you're on the paved portion, nearing the village, you will see small mangrove trees to your right. The road in from the highway has blocked passage of water to this area as well, the vegetation shows it too was once part of the whole mangrove system, probably right up to the hills. Now the water just seeps down into seasonal swampy areas. The the new condo/hotel development at Boca diked the arroyo, built on it's floodpain, and continued the process of filling extentions out into the mouth of that arroyo. They are now locked into a struggle with nature: you build on a floodplain, you are in trouble. Period.

Another big factor we all must deal with is the loss of the main arroyo which fed the mangrove lagoon : it used to flow out of the hills behind Los Ingenios, and sustained a flow for half the year at least. Now it acts as a runoff channel only. We all bear the consequences of a defunct federal policy supporting development of rural communities/ejidos by raising cattle. Money was made available to clear land,(cut, burn build roads) set up water supply systems in the hills(divert water flows)and subsidies of a sort which encouraged overgrazing. Here on the coast this strategy has been abandoned by most ejidos, but the damage has been done: the hills are hot, dry and shorn of their biodiverstity.

In Jalisco less than 20% of coastal dry forest remains, and this is the most biodiverse tropical dry forest in the world.
Google this area, and look. Type in "Jalicso Tropical Dry Forest" you will find out for yourself.

Just FYO. the hills above this town were cleared, maybe 20-30 years ago...and note that one of the calles coming down the slope is called "Boca del Rio". My hunch is there was a stream running down the hill, right there. Just a bit of background.

So, when people say "JUST LEAVE IT ALONE!" It's a little late for that, I believe. The question is, for me, HOW CAN WE LIVE HERE, WITH EVERY LIVING THING, IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY?" How can we do things respectfully, in accordance with the natural processes? While all intervention carries some risk, the motives and world view of the doers are usually the problem. And, please, don't call what we have created on the playa "PROGRESS", or tell us/yourself that it was inevitable. This will make you crazy, and sad.

I recieved a $10,000 grant from Sharon Cristof and Chris Davidson, to develop a interpretive trail out at the Los Joyas Reserve (5.5 hec. of land I bought 3 years ago). Anyway I used part of the money to consult with Olivier Robert, who works on sustainable community development here in Jalisco. We explored possible ways to protect the watershed, which our arroyo (Arroyo Aguactillo)drains and decided to approach this ejido executive with a proposal to apply for a CONAFOR project. (CONAFOR = federal ministry of forests) This project would go for 4-5 years, and requires a sustainable plan be developed for activities in the watershed during in the first year. (Remember, this watershed is the main source of water for recharging our aquifer.) Oliver then worked together with the president, Oswaldo, the treasurer Pepe, and their advisor Alfredo. The Asemblea supported the application, which was completed and sent in Feb.15. God willing and the creek don't rise, this will be successful, and we will have a local process for protecting this part of our ecosystem...and our water source. This way landowners in the watershed get paid for environmental services ie: keeping things forested, supported to pursue sustainable uses of their land like ecotourism, and accredited woodlots or reforestation projects where appropriate.( will there be complications? certainly!)

I talk a lot about the need for protection and so on. Just wanted people to know that I also put my money where my mouth is. Thanks, if you read this far. I appreciate it.


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