The MayagŁez Bay, located along the west coast of Puerto Rico, is one of the most valuable resources of the region, which offers a wide range of uses to the habitants within and around its watershed. In fact, its intrinsic value is being threatened by the increases in population and development. Also the MayagŁez Bay has been affected by contamination arising from the chemical industries, waste discharges from water treatment plants and discharges from the tuna plants, which at the same time are threatening the coastal resources and the quality and quantity of fresh water resources. This being a traditionally agricultural region, the recent expansion of the cities and communities and also the development and the improvement of the infrastructure have deteriorated the quality and quantity of natural resources along the MayagŁez Bay and consequently its habitat.
For years the increase in the MayagŁez Bay contamination has been a cause for concern for many governmental agencies (local and federal), as well as private interest groups and the community. There has been a great deal of iniciative for contamination control on the part of various entities, but the results have been limited. The principle reason for these results has been the lack of integration and coordination among the interested parties.
The University of MayagŁez through its Water Resources Research Institute and with the colaboration of the Center for Hemispherical Cooperation (CoHemis) proposes an integration between academia, researchers, the government and interested private groups to develop and implement a Comprehensive Integrated Management Plan for the MayagŁez Bay Watershed.
Problem and Research Objectives
Principal Findings and Significance
- The project will provide the development of a Comprehensive Integrated Management Plan for the MayagŁez Bay Watershed to allow the restoration, conservation and protection of the quality and quantity of its natural resources, and to establish a balance in the uses of the system and its ecological wholeness (integrity).
- The development of a structure which assures the participation of the interested parties and integrates and coordinates the administration and develops the expected efforts towards finding a solution for the problem of contamination.
- The development of strategies to restore, protect and manage the causes of contamination of the watershed.
- The development of an implementation plan which will guarantee that the plans and strategies developed will function as expected.
The success obtained with this project will lead to the improvement in the quality of life of the watershed and MayagŁez Bay habitants as well as its surroundings. The establishment of such plan will allow for the better utilization of the resources in a way to assure the integrity of the ecosystem. It will promote the integration and communication between the different parties of interest. The results of this effort will include:
- An integrated management and conservation plan for the entire MayagŁez Bay watershed;
- An inventory of GIS data for all sources of contamination, and the strategies for the restoration, protection and management;
- A program with the Water Resources Research Institute to coordinate and manage the efforts
- An implementation plan
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