Andes Amazon Fund celebrates the creation of the Bahia Watershed Municipal Protected Area in the department of Pando in Bolivia. The area protects 8,952 acres (3,623 hectares) of montane and Amazonian forests in a region considered as a priority for biodiversity conservation by the Bolivian government. Pando is the only department of Bolivia that completely overlaps with the northern Bolivian Amazon. These forests host a wide variety of fauna including more than 100 reptile species, 400 fish species and 1,000 bird species. Notable species include the vulnerable South American tapir (Tapirus terrestres), capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), and the Crested guan (Penelope purpurascens).
Protecting Freshwater Resources For All
Pando borders Peru to the west and Brazil to the north and east. As a result, the Bahia Watershed Municipal Protected Area shares similar biodiversity attributes to that of neighboring Brazilian and Peruvian forests. Considering the interconnectedness of nature and humanity’s dependence on its integrity, protecting ecosystems that span multiple countries results in sustaining the livelihoods of thousands of people across borders. As a fundamental example, this protected area in the Municipality of Cobija in Pando protects freshwater sources that are utilized by more than 80,000 people. For this reason, the protected area is named after the main source of drinking water for the municipality of Cobija – the Bahia stream.
The creation of this protected area will be followed by management practices that will ensure that water quality is sustained throughout the region; helping to minimize the local population’s exposure to any contamination of the water supply. Strategies will include the design and implementation of a monitoring system that tracks water quality, shifts in climate, and other threats. This work will be carried out by the Municipal Government of Cobija, with support from AAF grantee ACEAA.
The creation of the Bahia Watershed Municipal Protected Area was made possible thanks to a collaboration between local communities, the Municipal Government of Cobija, the Amazonian University of Pando and AAF grantee ACEAA. Bahia marks the sixth protected area declared in the region of Pando with Andes Amazon Fund support.