Presentation of the Focal River Basins

This Project proposes to analyze the multiplicity of processes that take place in watersheds through the analysis of multiple ecosystem services (the goods and services that ecosystems produce and that are important for human well-being). This view integrates the ethical imperatives of preserving the intrinsic value of Nature with a measurement of the value of natural capital, emphasizing the role that natural goods have in our lives and the reasons to preserve them. The perspectives and models developed by the Natural Capital Project (NatCap), complemented by original modeling and applications, provide the methodological bases of this Project.

 The three river basins have been selected as trial case studies, based on their demonstrative and replication value with regard to key problems in freshwater conservation in Patagonia, such as:

  1. The connection between climate change and the conditions of riparian environments, water quality and recreational activities.
  2.  The relationship between energy demands and production and hydrological regulation patterns for dams.
  3.  The relationship between hydrological regulation and habitat quality for fish.
  4.  The link between urban development and the quality of water, fishing, and other recreational activities.
  5.  The link between agricultural development and cattle ranching and the condition of riparian environments, the quality of water, fishing, and other recreational activities.
  6.  The link between species invasions and the condition of riparian environments and river beds.

Taken together, the three trial basins provide case studies for the proposed activities:

  • Chimehuín River, where items 1 and 4-6 are relevant

  • Chubut River in its lower section (from the Ameghino Dam to its mouth in the sea), where items 1 to 5 are relevant

  • Grande River,  where items 1, 4 and 5 are relevant