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Patagonia´s Freshwater Conservation: raising the scale Promoting science-based conservation of Patagonian rivers Miguel Pascual Freshwater at the global scale Water scarcity index. Oki & Kanae (2006) Valle San Cabao, Río Chimehuin (1970) Valle San Cabao, Río Chimehuin (2012) Chimehuin River, the future of the “Boca” Chimehuin River Valle San Cabao, Río Chimehuin Large inroads into FW conservation in Patagonia are to be made by bringing the connections to light: Proposal Establish a partnership between TNC & CONICET: • Build capacity for Natural Capital research • Initiate pilot projects in 3 case studies • Consolidate a regional network of collaborations Research/conservation strategy: top down Biophysical models Research/conservation strategy: bottom up Animated short by Drew Christie The exotic nutria in Lake Washington asks “How long does it take to become a native?” “For the first time in my life I was tired of fishing” Famed British fisherman Harold Hardy after fishing in Nahuel Huapi, Patagonia, in the 1940´s Research/conservation strategy: bottom up Biophysical model Habitat based models Research/conservation strategy: before & after RÍO CONICET CHIMEHUIN CEAN NODO NEUQUÉN DGBA LEA-INIBIOMA The Nature Conservancy NODO COORDINADOR CENPAT-CONICET Otras fuentes DGRH LEF-CADIC NODO TIERRA DEL FUEGO NODO CHUBUT GESA-CENPAT SPCH RÍO RÍO GRANDE CHUBUT Large inroads into FW conservation in Patagonia are to be made by bringing the connections to light: Salmonid recreational fisheries Economic/social impacts >70,000 fishing permits / yr Revenues U$60-65 million Jobs (few 000´s ?) But…. Freshwater issues demand system level, multi-scale, and multi-user views The capacity to conduct such research in Patagonia does not exist and needs to be created Specific objectives • Assimilate and integrate technical capacities available at TNC globally and elsewhere • Build capacity to conduct ecosystem level freshwater conservation science • Conduct specific research based on case studies • Work with regional administrators to support decisions processes and mainstream ES views Problem Lack of large-scale, long-term perspectives & views in FW management Society´s unpreparedness for impacts of development and climate change on water supply and water related resources Big questions The links between: • Urban development and water supply, fishing, etc. • Exotic species and riparian/stream habitat • Agriculture/cattle ranching and riparian habitat • Climate change and hydrology • Dams and hydrology downstream • Hydrology and habitat for FW species Chimehuín River, urban development Salmonid recreational fisheries Lago Cardiel, Santa Cruz, 1951 (Sr. Otto Wholer) If we zoom in • Urban development and agriculture are transforming river basins • Dams will be built in the last three large free-flowing rivers • Mining at headwaters is growing. • Rivers and lakes no longer sustain the famed fisheries of the past. • Water is becoming a limiting resource for urban areas throughout the region. • Climate change!