PROTECTION OF ITS DIVERSITY
The Forever Costa Rica Association and the Arenal-Tempisque Conservation Area jointly implemented the 2014–2015 Annual Work Plan for intervention in the Palo Verde Lagoon, which forms part of an integrated intervention plan that includes all of the wetlands of Palo Verde National Park.
The integrated plan proposes action in 3,150 ha of wetlands in this park between 2013 and 2018. By 2018, the Forever Costa Rica Association will have intervened in 300 ha in Palo Verde Lagoon with funds from the Save Palo Verde Campaign. As of 2015, 216 ha will already have been covered, equivalent to 72% of the goal set for the five-year period.
As for the remaining 2,850 ha, SINAC has already intervened in more than 1,300 ha. The intervention involves the systematic application of different techniques to control some species of plants that invade and cover the bodies of water, such as the southern cattail (Thypha domingensis) and the Jerusalem thorn, or palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata).
The results of bimonthly terrestrial monitoring by SINAC personnel and volunteer tourist guides indicate that the actions mentioned have permitted a better distribution of and use by aquatic birds in the different wetlands in the area.
An increase in abundance and richness of species has been observed and atypical masses of birds have been registered in some recovered sites: 6,000 northern pintails (Anas acuta) were recorded and in March 2015, 90 jabiru (Jabiru mycteria) were observed.
In March 2015, the Forever Costa Rica Association helped SINAC with organization of the II Palo Verde Festival of Birds, an important opportunity for disseminating the results of the collaborative effort to rehabilitate the wetlands, to draw the local residents and protected area closer, and to rescue and maintain the typical customs and culture of the Guanacaste lowlands.
Funds raised in the Save Palo Verde Campaign have been invested in Palo Verde National Park, including:
- Restoration of 300 ha of the Palo Verde Lagoon, resulting in the return of species.
- Preventive maintenance of tractors donated in 2012.
- Celebration of the IV Festival of Birds, which received more than 700 people. Press coverage included 31 published articles, $64,769 in publicity, $161,923 in PR value and an 81% return on investment.
- Progress made on the design donated by the Robles Arquitectos Company for the elevated walkway at Palo Verde Lagoon, which includes stations for listening, observing and touching, as well as on the technical studies being donated by the business Castro de la Torre and various professionals to achieve environmental viability of this project and bring the walkway to reality.