Wildlife Habitat Preservation
A constant source of delight to tourists and locals alike, the fauna of the Nandamojo valley also plays a vital role in the forest ecosystem—and in its restoration.
Since ROW’s inception 10 years, ago, thousands of trees have been planted by hundreds of volunteers in riparian buffer zones, along denuded coastal strands and in vital recharge zones. Within collaborating residential developments, ROW has restored a seasonal pond for waterfowl, developed and implemented an array of techniques to ensure habitat connectivity both above and below access roads and perfected erosion and runoff control techniques with positive impacts on water quality and aquatic habitat.
Other initiatives being undertaken by ROW include:
- Reestablishing the ridge to reef biological corridor from Estero Congo and mangrove to the intact dry tropical forest leading up to the La Florida watershed ridge. Efforts will benefit wildlife preservation via restoration, corridor and habitat expansion and species diversification in reforestation efforts.
- Restoring additional wildlife ponds.
- Completing more thorough surveys of wildlife populations involving local students as para-taxonomists.
- Continuing outreach at the community level, including wildlife identification and training of eco-tourism guides.
Though ROW is concerned with protecting all of the native wildlife in our watershed, we maintain a particular focus on the region’s birds, turtles and monkeys. To maximize our effectiveness, we partner with local organizations that are knowledgeable about these species and already have the staff and funding to support specific programs.
Working with our partner, the Sea Turtle Conservation Project (Asociación de Conservación Vida Verdiazul), ROW is helping to reestablish vegetative cover at the mouth of the Nandomojo River near Playa Junquillal. For three endangered species of sea turtles, Playa Junquillal is one of the most important nesting beaches in Costa Rica.
Research, funded by the World Wildlife Fund National Wildlife Federation, is ongoing to understand why the egg hatch rates are so high at Junquillal. Eco-Tourism efforts are underway to protect the eggs from collectors who subscribe to local folklore that eating them enhances male virility.
ROW has partnered with Save the Monkeys (Asociacion SalveMonos Salvemonos), to assist local troops of Howler monkeys in navigating overhead powerlines, roadways and commercial and residential developments. Save the Monkeys has worked successfully to build awareness and generate support for implementing integrated solutions. Their efforts currently include population and migration studies, habitat restoration, reforestation of critical corridors, and building "monkey bridges" where the Howler's aerial corridors have been interrupted.
ROW coordinated an important initiative to study and enhance migratory bird habitat in the Nandomojo watershed. The Nandavi Neotropical Bird Project was funded by a grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, secured in partnership with Applied Ecological Services. Activities conducted during the 2007-2008 project year included surveying bird populations in mono-crop plantations and mixed species forests; establishing a restoration transition strategy for plantations to create mixed diversity forests that support more native and migratory bird diversity and initiating local education efforts to support the watershed restoration vision and plan. Specific achievements were as follows:
- Conducted vegetation survey of the different ecosystems in the watershed with emphasis on habitat plants
- Completed Junquillal mangrove ecological situation analysis as part of ongoing cooperation with the conservation of the mangrove ecosystem in Junquillal
- Assessed sociological role of local networks and key individuals for restoration work
- Developed bird identification course for school children—a step towards training local eco-tourism guides
- Held leadership workshop for locals—in collaboration with Universidad Nacional and FUNGAP