The Asociacion ANAI Stream Biomonitoring Program: Annual Report on Activities – 2008
Asociacion ANAI, January – 2009 1
The Asociacion ANAI Stream Biomonitoring Program: Annual Report on Activities – 2008
(TALAMANCA, COSTA RICA)
Dr. WILLIAM O. McLARNEY Program Director
MARIBEL MAFLA HERRERA Program Codirector
ANA MARÍA ARIAS MORENO Research Coordinator
Apdo. 170‐2070 Sabanilla, San José. Costa Rica Office: (506) 2224‐3570; Fax: (506) 2253‐7524 e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.anaicr.org
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (English) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Español) 1. INTRODUCTION
2. SUMMARY OF 2008 BIOMONITORING SEASON IN TALAMANCA 2008 Biomonitoring Results Implications Comparison of IBIVI with IBITAL 3. PANAMA, 2008 4. BIOMONITORING IN CERTIFICATION OF ORGANIC AND FAIR TRADE CROPS 5. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION Training for Community‐based Biomonitoring Teams Background Selection of Communities Participants Objectives Activities Results Participation in ANAI Workshops 6. PUBLICATIONS Freshwater Fishes of Talamanca Monograph Guide to Diadromous Fishes Report on our 2006 Work in the Rio Madre de Dios Watershed IBIVI Guide Improved Macroinvertebrate Field Guide Posters 3‐Dimensional Map Logo 7. CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS UNESCO Mission La Amistad Annual “Birthday Party” Washington, D.C. Visit Other Meetings and Presentations 8. 2008 PROGRAM STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS Staff
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Volunteers/Interns 9. RELATED EVENTS The La Amistad Park – Threats and Opportunities Economic Factors The Flood of 2008 10. PLANS FOR THE FUTURE Background Courses and Workshops Possibilities Related to PILA Further Work with MINAET/ACLAC Proposed MOU with the National Aquarium Institute Biomonitoring Conference in Mexico Scientific Investigations in Greater Talamanca 11. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 12. APPENDICES
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (English) The year 2008 produced important advances in the effectiveness of the ANAI Stream Biomonitoring Program, most notably in the educational and extension components. Perhaps our single most important achievement was the development, together with APPTA (The Talamanca Small Producers’ Association), of simple biomonitoring tools which permit the incorporation of an aquatic component in their farm certification program. We successfully trained 21 local APPTA inspectors to evaluate on‐farm aquatic systems, and such inspection is now a routine part of certification inspections in Talamanca, with prospects of extending it to Bocas del Toro, Panama soon. We believe this is the first time that streams anywhere in the world have been specifically protected as part of an agricultural organic and Fair Trade certification program. A first step toward introducing the aquatic inspection concept beyond Talamanca was taken when the Biomonitoring Program participated in two ANAI international workshops with the same title ‐ “Leadership for Sustainable Community Development” ‐ one for indigenous leaders from Bocas del Toro, and the other for NGO leaders and technicians from throughout Latin America. We foresee the Biomonitoring Program as continuing full participants in ANAI’s increasing emphasis on sharing what we have learned in Talamanca throughout the humid tropics. Education was also an increasing emphasis within Talamanca, highlighted by the formation of Community Biomonitoring Groups in several indigenous communities. The objective of this initiative was defined as “to train a group of enthusiastic individuals in methods of assessing the ecological health of rivers and creeks using low cost, easily manageable and understandable tools and methods.” Two of the communities (Yorkin and Sibuju) completed the program in 2008. In these communities a total of 17 individuals ages 12‐75 were trained in all aspects of biomonitoring, using low‐cost methods, and successfully completed monitoring of 6 sites, with results added to ANAI’s database. The long range plan is for these groups (and others yet to be established) to be able to independently initiate and carry out biomonitoring in their own watersheds, thus greatly expanding regional biomonitoring capacity, and serving a “flagging” function which will enhance the effectiveness of monitoring by the ANAI team. One of the community groups (from Yorkin) debuted at the annual Talamanca Environmental Fair. In addition to presenting their accomplishments and exposing the concept of stream biomonitoring to a regional audience, for the occasion they helped develop a large, 3‐ dimensional model of the Rio Yorkin watershed, illustrative of flow patterns, land use, the extent of forest cover, etc. A critical component in facilitating community involvement in stream biomonitoring has been our pioneering of a visual fish‐based Index of Biotic Integrity (IBIVI). Much of our effort in 2008 was directed toward perfecting this index, which was used on 18 of 29 sites monitored by the ANAI team during the main monitoring season. In all but one case, results were closely comparable with previous or concurrent results based on sampling with electrofishers to compute the IBITAL index. This enabled us to complete and publish a field handbook which will facilitate community groups and others to replicate our methods independently.
Of 29 sites (including 3 officially designated as Fixed Stations, to be evaluated annually) monitored by the ANAI team, 16 received a Bioclass Rating of Good, 8 were Fair and 5 were evaluated as Poor. The drop in overall ratings compared to 2007, with no Excellent sites in 2008, does not represent any regional trend, but is the result of our not being active in virtually unimpacted sites in the La Amistad National Park (PILA) in 2008. The major problems identified were habitat alteration in populated areas, and overfishing in some remote areas of the indigenous reserves. One encouraging change was a clear improvement in one of the IBI metrics for the Rio Patiño, located in a densely populated area, as an indirect result of community involvement in the biomonitoring process. Alerted by IBI results including high levels of parasitization of fish, community members enlisted the Ministry of Health to help identify and remove or repair malfunctioning septic tanks, with subsequent reduction in the level of parasitization from 8.3 to 1.3%, thus successfully demonstrating the connection between public health and biotic integrity. Outside the binational Rio Yorkin watershed, our activity in Panama was limited during 2008 as a consequence of the continuing controversy around 4 proposed hydroelectic dams (two of them in the preliminary stages of construction) in Ngobe and Naso indigenous terrritories, in the Changuinola/Teribe watershed. However, we were able to provide continuing training (in Costa Rica, including participation in the Yorkin community biomonitoring group) for two of our initial group of Panamanian parataxonomists, who have formed part of an independent biomonitoring effort administered through the Fundacion Naso. We also participated in two important events related to the proposed dams and their relation to PILA and the Naso and Ngobe indigenous territories – a series of public and private meetings organized around a visit by a UNESCO mission in response to an initiative to have PILA officially declared a World Heritage Site in Danger, and the annual “birthday party” for PILA, held in Costa Rica on the Pacific slope of the Park. For the first occasion, we prepared, published and distributed a document predicting the probable biological effects of dam closure, accompanied by an illustrated guide to the diadromous animals of the Changuinola/Teribe watershed. Both events served as opportunities to expose the diadromy issue and the role of biomonitoring methodologies in dealing with it to a wider, binational public. One immediately foreseeable consequence is to insure our continuing involvement in bioassessment related to PILA and its buffer zone communities. As always, volunteer involvement was key to our success. Particular mention should be made of long term, San‐Jose based volunteer Teresa Rosello, a professional environmental engineer, who began what is planned as an 18 month stint in February. Teresa is involved in making our database more accessible and usable by ANAI staff and others. She also completed fish distribution mapping for our forthcoming monograph on the freshwater fishes of Talamanca. Of even greater importance was the hiring, in August, of former intern Ana Maria Arias, following completion of her degree requirements at the U. of Tolima in Colombia (with a thesis based on her previous work in Talamanca). This marks the resolution of a protracted search for a third staff member to complement the work of codirectors Bill McLarney and Maribel Mafla, and has greatly enhanced our efficiency and productivity.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Español) En el año 2008 se lograron avances importantes en la efectividad del Programa de Biomonitoreo de Ríos de la Asociación ANAI, siendo los más notables en los aspectos de educación y alcance. Quizás el logro más importante fue el desarrollo, en conjunto con APPTA (La Asociación de Pequeños Productores de Talamanca), de herramientas sencillas de biomonitoreo que permitieron incorporar un componente de salud acuática a su programa de certificación interna de fincas. Se logró capacitar 21 inspectores locales afiliados a APPTA en la evaluación de sistemas acuáticos en fincas, y ahora tal componente forma parte de las inspecciones rutinarias de certificación en Talamanca, con posibilidad de extenderlo a Bocas del Toro, Panamá en un futuro próximo. Se piensa que es la primera vez, en cualquier parte del mundo, que los ríos y quebradas han sido específicamente protegidos como parte de un programa de certificación de agricultura orgánica y Comercio Justo. Se dio un primer paso hacia la introducción del concepto de inspecciones acuáticas mas allá de Talamanca cuando el Programa de Biomonitoreo participó en dos talleres internacionales organizados por ANAI titulados ambos “Liderazgo para Desarrollo Comunal Sostenible”, uno dirigido a líderes indígenas de Bocas del Toro, y el otro a líderes y técnicos de ONG’s de todo Latinoamérica. Se preveé que el Programa de Biomonitoreo seguirá participando plenamente en el énfasis creciente de ANAI de compartir lo aprendido en Talamanca a nivel del trópico húmedo mundial. El énfasis progresivo en educación en Talamanca se destacó por la creación de Grupos de Biomonitoreo Comunitario en varios pueblos indígenas. El objetivo de esta iniciativa es “capacitar un grupo de personas entusiastas en la valoración de la salud ecológica de los ríos y quebradas, por medio de herramientas de fácil comprensión, manejo y bajo costo”. Dos de las comunidades (Yorkin y Sibuju) completaron el programa en 2008. En estas dos comunidades un total de 17 personas en edades entre 12 y 75 años fueron capacitadas en todos los aspectos de biomonitoreo, logrando completar exitosamente el monitoreo de 6 sitios, con los resultados incluidos en las bases de datos de ANAI. La visión a largo plazo de estos grupos (y otros aun por establecer) es que estén en total capacidad de iniciar y ejecutar de manera independiente la vigilancia biológica de sus cuencas hidrográficas, incrementando en gran medida las actividades de biomonitoreo y sirviendo a la vez como señalizadores de posibles cambios y amenazas, lo que aumenta la efectividad y cobertura de monitoreo por parte del equipo de ANAI. Uno de los grupos comunales (el de Yorkin) debuto en el Festival Ambiental anual de Talamanca. Además de presentar sus logros y exponer el concepto de biomonitoreo de ríos a una audiencia regional, participaron en la elaboración de una maqueta de la cuenca del Río Yorkin, en la que se ilustran patrones de flujo, uso de la tierra, extensión de cobertura boscosa, etc. Un aspecto critico para facilitar el involucramiento del biomonitoreo de ríos a nivel de comunidades ha sido nuestro esfuerzo pionero de desarrollar un índice de integridad biótica visual basado en peces (IBIVI). Gran parte del esfuerzo durante el 2008 estuvo dirigido en perfeccionar este índice, el cual fue empleado en 18 de los 29 sitios monitoreados por el equipo de ANAI durante la temporada principal de monitoreo. Con una única excepción, los resultados de esta metodología son comparables con los obtenidos, anteriormente o de manera simultánea,
en el índice IBITAL, que se basa en el muestreo con electropesca. El esfuerzo realizado hizo posible la terminación y publicación de una guía de campo, la cual facilitará a grupos comunales y otros interesados replicar los métodos del programa independientemente. De 29 sitios (incluyendo tres oficialmente designados como Sitios Fijos, por ser evaluados anualmente) monitoreados por el equipo de ANAI, 16 recibieron una designación de Bioclase Buena, 8 Regular y 5 fueron catalogados como Pobres. El descenso global en Bioclase comparado con el 2007, con ningún sitio catalogadó como Excelente en 2008, no refleja una tendencia regional, es debido a la falta de actividad en sitios poco impactados en el Parque Nacional La Amistad (PILA) en 2008. Los principales problemas identificados fueron la alteración de hábitat en areas pobladas y la sobrepesca en algunas partes remotas de las reservas indígenas. Un cambio alentador fue el mejoramiento claro en uno de los métricos del IBI para el Río Patiño, ubicado en un área densamente poblada, como resultado indirecto del involucramiento comunal en el proceso de biomonitoreo. Alertados por los resultados del IBI, que incluía un alto nivel de parasitación en peces, miembros de la comunidad solicitaron ayuda al Ministerio de Salud para identificar y eliminar o reparar tanques sépticos en mal estado, lo que llevó a una consecuente reducción en el nivel de parasitación del 8.3 a 1.3%. Esto demuestra efectivamente la conexión entre salud pública e integridad biótica. Fuera de la cuenca binacional del Río Yorkin, la actividad en Panamá estuvo limitada en el 2008 como consecuencia de la controversia que sigue alrededor de 4 represas hidroeléctricas (dos de ellas en las etapas preliminares de construcción) en territorios indígenas Ngobe y Naso, en la cuenca Changuinola/Teribe. Sin embargo, se logró proveer capacitación adicional (en Costa Rica, incluyendo interacción con el grupo de biomonitoreo comunal de Yorkin) para dos integrantes del grupo inicial de Parataxónomos Panameños, quienes han formado parte de un esfuerzo independiente de biomonitoreo administrado por la Fundación Naso. También se participó en dos eventos importantes acerca de las propuestas de represas y su relación con el PILA y los territorios indígenas Naso y Ngöbe – una serie de reuniones públicas y privadas organizadas alrededor de una visita por la misión de la UNESCO como respuesta a una iniciativa para declarar oficialmente al PILA como Sitio de Patrimonio Mundial en Peligro, y la anual “fiesta de cumpleaños” del PILA, llevada a cabo en Costa Rica, en el lado Pacifico del Parque. Para la primera ocasión, se publicó un documento en el que se pronostican los posibles efectos de cerrar las represas, acompañado por una guía ilustrada de los animales diádromos de la cuenca Changuinola/Teribe. Ambos eventos sirvieron como oportunidad para exponer la cuestión de la diadromía y el papel de biomonitoreo en tratar con ello, a una audiencia binacional, cada vez más amplia. Una consecuencia previsible es asegurar la continua participación del programa en el biomonitoreo del PILA y las comunidades de su zona de amortiguamiento. Como siempre, el involucramiento de voluntarios fue clave para el éxito. Se hace mención especial de la voluntaria a largo plazo basada en San José, Teresa Rosello, una ingeniera ambiental, que inicio en Febrero algo previsto como una estadía de 18 meses. Teresa está encargada de hacer las bases de datos más accesibles y fáciles de usar para el equipo de ANAI y otros interesados. De igual forma ha completado el mapeo de distribución de peces para la próxima monografía sobre los peces de agua dulce de Talamanca.
La contratación de la pasante anterior Ana María Arias, en agosto, fue de aun mayor importancia. Ella se encontraba finalizando sus requisitos de grado en la U. de Tolima, Colombia (con una tesis basada en su trabajo previo en Talamanca). Esto representa la resolución de una prolongada búsqueda de un tercer miembro para el equipo de biomonitoreo que complementara el trabajo de los directores Bill McLarney y Maribel Mafla, lo que ha ayudado a aumentar la eficiencia y productividad en gran medida.
1. INTRODUCTION In our 2007 report we stated that “Our long term vision has always been to develop and institutionalize aquatic biomonitoring methodologies which are within the reach of Talamancan communities, and to share our successes outside the region.” The current report (which arrives late as a consequence of devastating floods which struck parts of Talamanca in November, temporarily converting the Biomonitoring Program into one component of a relief project) describes significant progress toward both of these goals. Within Talamanca, while carrying out our normal program of biomonitoring, guided by local needs and interests, we greatly enhanced the educational component. In addition to continuing to provide hands‐on education for Talamancan volunteers and continuing our long term relationship with the Colegio Tecnico Agropecuario del Valle de la Estrella (a regional high school), we consolidated our training program in 3 pilot communities, in the process developing a new and important working relationship with the new tele‐high school in the remote community of Yorkin. The latter two activities were linked with outreach beyond Talamanca through the inclusion of Panamanian indigenous parataxonomists, trained in the ANAI program during 2004‐2008, in portions of the training in the binational community of Yorkin. As an unfortunate byproduct of controversy around hydroelectric dam schemes in the Changuniola/Teribe watershed neither the ANAI team nor our associated Naso and Ngöbe parataxonomists were able to carry out biomonitoring in Panama during 2008. (We do report below on inventory results obtained by a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute team, principally during 2007, but not released until October, 2008.) However we have all remained involved at the level of discussion, beginning with a binational visit by a UNESCO team in February, and continuing through November with an invitation from The Nature Conservancy/Panama to begin developing the aquatic component of monitoring protocols for La Amistad in both countries, and to facilitate participation in this work by the neighboring indigenous communities. Whatever may be the end result of the dam controversy, two positive byproducts have been to focus attention on the enormous biodiversity of the long‐neglected megapark and to elevate the aquatic component of that diversity to its rightful place, with concomitant opportunities for ANAI. If a single adjective were to be applied to our work in 2008, perhaps the best choice would be “integrative”. When the Stream Biomonitoring Program began in 2000 there was necessarily a strong emphasis on gathering baseline scientific information. Subsequent years saw increased involvement by community volunteers and following that, education and training opportunities aimed at integrating local people fully into the process. Gradually, but especially in 2008, this resulted in further integrations: * At the international level, we see the beginning of educational processes whereby, for example, Panamanian Naso parataxonomists help train Costa Rican Bribri counterparts in fish survey methods, in turn receiving a valuable educational experience in community‐based ecotourism, with ANAI staff increasingly in a coordinating role.
* Our work related to La Amistad has tended to help integrate neighboring indigenous communities into a conservation process aimed at protecting the park, while at the same time facilitating them to perceive and receive benefit from the park. * The development of the aquatic component in APPTA’s agricultural certification program is a conspicuous example of the full integration of the Biomonitoring Program into ANAI’s signature Organic Agroforestry Program, which has revitalized the agricultural economy of Talamanca and Bocas del Toro. Up to now, it has been a fairly easy task, when we sit down to write a report on the Biomonitoring Program, to select those news items which do or don’t belong in such a report. As the comments above suggest, that task is becoming more difficult as certain boundaries blur. We take this as evidence of real progress toward our Biomonitoring Program goal of “involving ordinary citizens, in Talamanca and elsewhere, in evolving a culture which cherishes and protects natural resources and biodiversity.”
2. SUMMARY OF 2008 BIOMONITORING SEASON IN TALAMANCA 2008 Biomonitoring Results: Table 1 (Appendix A) summarizes the results obtained from monitoring 29 stream sites (Map, Figure 1) in Talamanca during March and April, 2008. (Our traditional intensive monitoring season of February‐May was foreshortened largely due to the demands of courses and workshops, plus the UNESCO mission visit in February.) Results in Table 1 reflect ecosystem health as determined using 3 different types of indices: • Biological analysis of the condition of the fish assemblage using the Talamanca Index of Biotic Integrity (IBITAL) based on capture samples of fish or the Visual Index of Biotic Integrity (IBIVI) based on visual counts. • Biological analysis of benthic macroinvertebrate samples, using the BMWP‐CR (Biomonitoring Working Party – Costa Rica) index. • Physical habitat assessment results from application of SVAP‐TAL (Stream Visual Assessment Protocol, modified for Talamanca).
Figure 1. Sites on rivers and creeks ecologically assessed using the IBITAL, IBIVI. BMWP‐CR and SVAPTAL indices during the 2008 monitoring season.
Table 1 also contains a Final Bioclass Rating, determined by the Biomonitoring Team and participating volunteers through discussion of the results of the 3 indices just mentioned, incorporating observations which may cause us to give more or less weight to one or other of the indices. (For example, at high altitudes fish diversity is naturally low, which can result in more weight being given to the macroinvertebrate component.) Where applicable, we also show the Bioclass Rating from the most recent previous monitoring effort and project a perceived trend at the site (stable, improving or declining) with probable causes of change.
All of these results will be discussed, collectively and for different geographic groupings of sites, in a Technical Report presently in preparation. Our plan for 2009 and beyond is to make such a report available each year shortly after the termination of the principal monitoring season in May. This schedule will have the following advantages: • It will make technical information widely available in a more punctual manner. • The lay reader will not be obliged to wade through great quantities of numbers, multiple graphics, etc. in order to form an idea of our progress and its implications for conservation in Greater Talamanca. • At the same time, it will enable us to present more detailed data and analysis for the technical reader. Below, we present the most important results and general conclusions derived from the 2008 biomonitoring experience: • Of a total 29 sites, 8 were in the Hone Creek watershed (the largest of the coastal watersheds between the Estrella and Sixaola Rivers), 8 were in the Estrella watershed and 13 in the Sixaola watershed. • Of the 13 Sixaola watershed sites, 6 were in the binational Rio Yorkin watershed (including one, Rio Dacle, in Panama and one on the Rio Yorkin where it defines the international boundary), 3 were on streams tributary to the Rio Sixaola below the Yorkin and 4 were in systems tributary to the Rio Telire above the point where it joins with the Yorkin to form the Sixaola. • Three sites in the Hone Creek watershed, where our field office is located, were formally selected as Fixed Stations, to be monitored every year. Among other benefits this will provide long term data which can help us detect effects due to factors such as climate change which do not act at the level of the individual stream or watershed. The 3 fixed stations represent one relatively healthy watershed (Hotel Creek), one polluted stream (Rio Patiño) and one relatively uncontaminated but severely physically modified stream (Quebrada Carbon). • Of the 29 sites monitored, 16 received a Bioclass Rating of Good, 8 were rated Fair and 5 were rated Poor. No sites were rated Excellent or Very Poor. (In general terms we consider Good and Excellent to be the only acceptable ratings; Fair sites have a fair chance of recovery in the medium to short term if specific problems are corrected.)
While in 2007 we rated 5 sites in Costa Rica as Excellent, no Excellent Bioclass Ratings were recorded for 2008. This does not reflect any change in conditions; all of the Excellent sites in 2007 were located within the La Amistad National Park, where we did not sample in 2008.
Not surprisingly, the Yorkin watershed had the highest proportion of Good scores. Only one site on the Rio Yorkin mainstem received a Fair rating; this was primarily due to a scarcity of large adult fish of any species.
Bioclass Ratings from the 8 Estrella Valley sites and 4 upper Sixaola watershed sites were evenly divided between Good and Fair, which would correspond to an accurate description of land use practices in these areas, whereas results in the more heavily settled Hone Creek and lower Sixaola watersheds were skewed toward Fair and Poor ratings (6 of 11 sites). All 5 Poor Bioclass Ratings were from these watersheds.
Of 27 sites for which previous data are sufficient to permit speculation on long term trends, 3 showed slight tendencies to improvement, while 5 appeared to be declining in biotic integrity. Results from 3 sites are interesting enough to merit description here. ‐ There are strong suggestions that the scarcity of adult fish and consequent decline in biotic integrity observed on the Rio Yorkin mainstem above the village of Yorkin is due to overfishing as a consequence of establishment of a new Ngobe community not far upstream. ‐ A site on the Rio Sandbox, previously monitored in 2005 and 2006, was chosen after it was channelized by a banana producer in 2004. Almost immediately after channelization, the work was largely destroyed by heavy rains and high water, and we had begun the process of documenting renaturalization. However, it was rechannelized in 2008, about 3 months before our scheduled monitoring date, and the trend is once again negative. ‐ An important positive development, not reflected in the Bioclass Rating, is a clear improvement in one of the IBI metrics at our Rio Patiño fixed station, where the incidence of disease, parasitization and anomalies in fish dropped from 8.3 to 1.3%. This improvement was a consequence of community members, who include frequent ANAI volunteers, complaining about malfunctioning septic tanks, which condition was corrected by the Ministry of Health. (Unfortunately, this positive result was offset by the results of the BMWP‐CR index, which reflects an impoverished macroinvertebrate community, at least partly as a consequence of repeated poisoning of this stream to obtain shrimp for use as bait in ocean fishing.)
Implications: These results illustrate several of the challenges facing aquatic conservationists in Talamanca:
The problem of regulating human harvest of fishery resources in a context of biodiversity conservation: This may be reflected in terms of overharvest based on poverty and protein needs (the case of the Rio Yorkin) or use of inappropriate methods with severe side effects (Rio Patiño).
The continuance of unregulated habitat alteration by powerful agricultural interests (Rio Sandbox).
The overlap of public health and biodiversity concerns (Rio Patiño).
The discouraging effect of clear improvements (nature restoring a natural channel, removal of failing septic tanks) being offset by concurrent negative changes (rechannelization, poisoning of shrimp) in the Rios Patiño and Sandbox, respectively, resulting in no net change in biotic integrity.
In general, our results from this and previous years (for example, the Excellent Bioclass Ratings from streams in the La Amistad Park in 2007) demonstrate the clear relation of biotic integrity with human population and infrastructure density. Absent regular human impacts, Excellent biotic integrity can be expected. With moderate human population density and little infrastructure, with care Good conditions can be maintained even near and within settlements. But as human population density increases and land use intensifies, there overlapping stresses occur, with the potential to negate deliberate or accidental improvements. However, we note that no region of Talamanca is totally lacking in Good streams. We believe that the results of our ongoing work illustrate both the possibility of maintaining adequate environmental health in developed landscapes, and the need for biomonitoring to evaluate conditions, measure changes and direct conservation efforts.
Figure 2. Fish sampling in the Rio Patiño with local volunteers.
Comparision of IBIVI with IBITAL: One of our most important tasks for 2008 was validation of the new IBIVI index, based on visual fish surveys; of a total 29 sites, 18 were evaluated using IBIVI. Of these, 5 were on streams smaller than any we had worked with IBIVI before, and for which we were not as confident of the applicability of the index. (One site was evaluated with both IBIVI and IBITAL, for comparative purposes.) A detailed comparison of IBIVI vs. IBITAL will be offered in our Technical Report, along with suggested modifications of both indices principally (but not exclusively) for use in small streams; here we offer a very brief comparison: Of the 13 larger sites monitored using IBIVI, only 2 produced significant discrepancies between the results of the 2 fish‐based indices. In both cases, agreement between the IBIVI index and the 2008 macroinvertebrate and habitat indices was better than in previous years between IBITAL and the other indices. Similarly, our use of IBIVI on 4 of the 5 smaller sites produced results very similar to those previously achieved with IBITAL. One site, Quebrada Kitadikur, in the Estrella Valley, produced a drastically different result (IBITAL of 42 Fair in 2002 vs. an IBIVI of 51 Good in 2008); this was the very first small stream site we attempted with IBIVI, and we suggest that procedural errors may be involved in the result.
Figure 3. Fish monitoring methods used by the Biomonitoring Program: A) Sampling with the use of an electrofisher, to calculate the IBI index. B) Visual censusing to calculate the IBI‐VI index.
Overall, these results are very encouraging. While if a complete species inventory is a goal, electrofishers will always be our tool of choice, IBIVI (which it should be noted is an index still very much in development) appears to be applicable over a broad range of situations. We note that in certain situations (streams too large or deep to sample completely while wading, but with good visibility in pools) our results suggest that IBIVI may actually give more credible results than monitoring protocols which depend on capturing samples of fish. So what began as an effort to develop a fish‐based monitoring methodology accessible to communities which have no possibility of obtaining and operating electrofishers has resulted in the creation of an alternative tool for use by professionals and parataxonomists alike.
3. PANAMA, 2008 As readers of previous reports will be aware, the Biomonitoring Program has been active
in Panama since its inception. Our early work was entirely concentrated in the binational Rio Yorkin watershed, and was done in collaboration with the Bribri indigenous communities of Yorkin (Costa Rica) and Dacle/El Guabo (Panama), as part of their effort to protect tribal forested lands in the buffer zone of the La Amistad Park and Biosphere Reserve. In 2004 the scope of our involvement in Panama expanded with the PRODOMA‐funded workshop for Ngobe and Naso indigenous leaders from throughout Bocas del Toro Province. Since then an increasing level of interaction between the Biomonitoring Program and Panamanian indigenous groups from the Yorkin, San San, Teribe and Changuinola watersheds has paralleled ANAI’s increasing outreach to these groups, directly and through an organic agroforestry initiative managed by the Bocas del Toro‐based farmers’ coooperative COCABO (analogous to APPTA in Talamanca). The most notable achievement flowing from the 2004 course has been an ongoing partnership with indigenous parataxonomists from the Changuinola/Teribe watershed, who independently carried out important biomonitoring efforts related to La Amistad during 2006‐ 2008. Reports from this work were presented to ANAM (the Panamanian National Environmental Authority) and other entities as part of the discussion surrounding plans to build several hydroelectric dams on the mainstem of the Rio Changuinola (Ngobe territory) and the Rio Bonyic (Naso territory), tributary to the Rio Teribe.
Figure 4. Members of the Panamanian Bribri indigenous community and staff volunteer Claudia Cheng collecting macroinvertebrates on the Rio Dacle.
The scope of activity by all investigators during these years has been limited as a consequence of severe and occasionally violent controversy over the dams, two of which are in the very early stages of construction. The most visible event during this period has been the visit by a mission from UNESCO in February, 2008 in response to a petition by the US‐based Center for Biological Diversity, backed by several Panamanian groups, to place La Amistad on the official list of World Heritage Sites in Danger (based on a series of perceived problems, not all of them dam‐ related or directly involving aquatic resources). Meetings were held with representatives of the Panamanian and Costa Rican governments, NGO’s and the four indigenous ethnias involved (Ngobe, Naso, Bribri and Cabecar), including one public forum in Changuinola. ANAI participated in the public meeting in Changuinola, as well a government/NGO meeting in San Jose and one called by ADITIBRI and ADITICA (Bribri and Cabecar indigenous governments) in Suretka, Talamanca. We used this opportunity to formally present two documents (copies in Appendix B) – an evaluation of probable effects on aquatic biodiversity of dam construction in the Changuinola/Teribe watershed and an illustrated guide (in English and Spanish) to the diadromous organisms of that watershed. Our concern is based primarily on the high probability of mass extirpation of diadromous fish and shrimps (species obliged to move freely between freshwater and marine environments in order to complete their life cycle) in the upper reaches of the Changuinola and Bonyic watersheds, including a major portion of La Amistad. This conclusion was subsequently buttressed by the results of the STRI expedition, which identified 9 of a total 15 fish species, plus all of the shrimps collected from above the lowermost Changuinola dam site as diadromous species. For the fish alone, these species comprised 83.1% of the total individuals and 82.4% of the biomass (total weight of all organisms). While ultimately UNESCO did not choose to designate La Amistad as a World Heritage Site in Danger, they did issue a report which places substantial pressure on the Costa Rican and Panamanian governments to step up their efforts to protect La Amistad (a vast area to date largely protected by virtue of its remoteness and inaccessibility). This has led to a number of efforts, a few ongoing with others in the proposal stage. Among the latter group is a request to ANAI from The Nature Conservancy’s Panama office to begin development of aquatic inventory and biomonitoring methods in the Changuinola/Teribe and neighboring watersheds, including La Amistad and its buffer zone, with full involvement by the neighboring indigenous communities. We hope that this work (which has its parallel in Costa Rica; see Plans for the Future, below) will be funded in time to begin in 2009. Future work in Panama will benefit from further training received this year by two of the Naso parataxonomists, Marcio Bonilla and Hugo Sanchez, in a program funded by IUCN, through the Fundacion Naso. The first part of their training took place as part of a workshop for Panamanian and Costa Rican Bribri parataxonomist trainees, held in Yorkin. This workshop covered: • Improvements in our sampling protocols and analytical procedures since 2006. • Selection of monitoring sites and planning of field work. • Upgrading of skills and knowledge in macroinvertebrate biomonitoring. There were two important byproducts of this workshop experience, one foreseen and the other unforeseen:
* As we expected, both the Naso participants and their Bribri hosts profited from the exchange. While the Naso are more advanced in biomonitoring, and effectively served as assistant instructors in some phases, the Bribri of Yorkin are much more advanced in development of community‐based ecotourism, so that Marcio and Hugo took home much information and many ideas which may eventually be applied in Naso territory. *An equally important contribution was an obervation by Marcio and Hugo that our criteria did not work as well on some of the extremely high gradient streams common in Naso territory. This is leading to the collaborative development of modified criteria for this type of streams. The workshop in Yorkin was followed by an intensive 5 day work session at the ANAI field office in Hone Creek, with emphasis on 1) specimen preparation and taxonomic identification, based on a reference collection of benthic macroinvertebrates from the Teribe watershed and 2) the preparation of reports, proposals and budgets. The latter component is of special importance to Fundacion Naso’s ashlong term goal of developing and maintaining an independent, locally managed stream biomonitoring program. For further illustrations of the Biomonitoring Program’s outreach to Bocas del Toro province, see following sections of this report, especially those on Biomonitoring in Certification of Organic and Fair Trade Crops, Environmental Education and Plans for the Future.
Figure 5. Staff biologist Ana María Arias and Panamanian Naso parataxonomists Marcio Bonilla and Hugo Sanchez in an ANAI course on taxonomy and ecology of benthic macroinvertebrates.
4. BIOMONITORING IN CERTIFICATION OF ORGANIC AND FAIR TRADE CROPS Undoubtedly ANAI’s single most far‐reaching success to date has been to revitalize the small farm economy of Greater Talamanca in what may be described as a 2 step process: 1) Establishment of stable, productive polyculture farm systems based on the agroforestry concept. 2) Securing better prices for small producers through assisting in the development and application of certification systems enabling them to market their crops as “organic” and “fair trade” products. So in February of 2008, when Julio Barquero, codirector of the ANAI Stream Biomonitoring Program during 2000‐2002 and currently a private consultant, invited the Biomonitoring Program to participate in a workshop on ecological indicators for APPTA’s farm inspectors, we were not surprised at the high level of interest, critical capacity and openness to new ideas displayed by the inspectors and other APPTA staff. This led directly to a suggestion for developing certification criteria based on the condition of streams flowing through Talamancan agroforestry farms. To us this represented an opportunity to “close the circle”, linking ANAI’s newest program with what might fairly be described as its Signature Program. The farmers of APPTA, like small producers everywhere, live in a competitive reality. They, in common with producers of their principal crops (cacao and bananas) elsewhere, are rewarded by the market for providing uniformly high quality products, but also for eschewing the use of toxic chemicals, for protecting their soils, for the establishment of agricultural systems which mimic the natural environment – in their case lowland tropical forest ‐ and for adhering to practices which tend toward an equitable distribution of resources. They have also come to realize that the more assurance they can offer purchasers that their products are sustainable and environmentally benign, the better will be their position in the market. Hence winning support for the concept of an aquatic monitoring program (and a parallel one based on bird diversity in agroforestry farms) was not difficult. A critical first step in moving from concept to reality was realizing that we were really dealing with two different situations. Some farms were bordered or bisected by good sized streams which had already passed through numerous other properties. There was no way individual farmers could be held responsible for the biological condition of a stream which may have passed through logged over lands, pastures, settlements, chemical farms and other situations which can stress aquatic ecosystems. But other, usually smaller streams and their watersheds existed largely or entirely within single farms or clusters of small certified organic farms. Such owners could justly claim pride in healthy aquatic ecosystems equivalent to those found in untouched forest. So from the beginning we were required to develop two sets of criteria – one based mainly on land use practices, which rewards landowners for not contributing to the degradation of streams passing through or by their farms, and another focused primarily on aspects of biotic
integrity. Also from the beginning we were charged with developing low cost criteria which could be learned and efficiently applied by trained local inspectors. Criteria were developed and inspectors trained in the field during 5 day‐long workshops with 21 inspectors, APPTA staff and participating farmers in the communities of Shiroles, Amubri, Bambu, Sibuju and Katsi. The workshops took place at 19 stream sites on 15 different farms representing nearly the full diversity of stream types to be found on Talamancan farms. At a final all day workshop at APPTA headquarters in Bribri the system was formalized through a consensus process, which ultimately arrived at readily understandable criteria based on easily observed conditions and fauna, and which are technically well grounded and efficient to apply. The question of efficiency is extremely important; while evaluation by the Biomonitoring Team of one or occasionally two stream sites in a day, using 3 different indices to reach a single rating is admirably efficient in the context of a Program devoted to the study, maintenance and restoration of stream ecosystems, such an approach would be utterly unrealistic in a context where inspectors charged with also looking at plant and bird diversity and agricultural practices and lacking access to motor vehicles are responsible for evaluating up to 6 farms a day in a region distinguished by the lack of transportation infrastructure. By September both systems were in use throughout APPTA’s service area. A trained inspector familiar with a small farm can apply the 5 criteria used for larger streams or the 7 applicable on smaller streams and determine whether the farm qualifies for certification in 20 minutes at streamside, and without the use of any equipment more costly than printed forms and a $1 aquarium net. Of course rapid development of an efficient methodology would not have been possible were it not for the years invested by the Biomonitoring team in studying and monitoring Talamancan stream ecosystems. Copies (in Spanish) of instructions for inspectors and the actual field work sheets are included in Appendix C.
Figure 6. Group of APPTA inspectors being trained in identification of Poeciliid fishes (Panzonas or livebearers).
We believe these are the first agricultural certification criteria ever developed based on maintenance of healthy on‐farm aquatic systems. There appears to be considerable promise for
this concept to spread beyond Talamanca, beginning with COCABO in Bocas del Toro. While this will require meetings with and decisions by the COCABO board, their crops are largely marketed to the same buyers as those of APPTA farmers in Costa Rica, and they will likely see it to their advantage to follow suit. When in April we presented the concept in preliminary form at a sustainable development workshop for indigenous leaders from Bocas del Toro, many of them COCABO farmers, a first response was a desire to participate in the development of aquatic‐based certification requirements for their farms. We have also received inquiries from organizations involved in promoting organic and fair trade agricultural practices in other parts of Costa Rica, and will be presenting the concept to individuals and organizations from throughout Latin America in future workshops.
Figure 7. Program Codirector Maribel Mafla explaining procedures for assessment of the aquatic component of organic/fair trade certification to an APPTA inspector.
5. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION Training for CommunityBased Biomonitoring Teams Background: The most important new initiative taken by the ANAI Biomonitoring Team during 2008 was to begin the formalization of a biomonitoring‐based environmental education program in rural communities. While it can be argued that all of the volunteer involvement (including the valued participation of students from the agricultural ecology class at the regional high school in the Estrella Valley, who participated for the 8th consecutive year), as well as presentations and participation in ANAI’s sustainable development workshops by the biomonitoring staff (described below in this section) constitute environmental education in various forms, this year we took the important step of beginning to develop freestanding biomonitoring teams in selected communities of Talamanca, building on our successful experience with the training of parataxonomists in Bocas del Toro. Before going on to describe our Environmental Education activities, mention should also be made of one unanticipated opportunity which arose, and was seized, in 2008. The integration of aquatic monitoring criteria into APPTA’s process of organic and Fair Trade farm inspections, with training of local inspectors, could be viewed as competing with our Environmental Education plans (because a majority of the trainees in two of the target communities are employed as APPTA inspectors) or as distorting its geographic emphasis (by necessitating greater than anticipated expenditures of our time in APPTA’s principal service area in the upper Sixaola watershed). We prefer to think that the unforeseen emphasis on inspectors and certification accelerated our progress toward the long term goal of building concern for water quality and aquatic biodiversity into the evolving regional culture while enhancing the quality of our educational effort in selected communities. Certainly the reader seeking to understand the vision and present state of our Environmental Education initiative should read the preceding section on “Biomonitoring in Certification of Organic and Fair Trade Crops”. One of the eventual outcomes of this process will be to greatly expand the scope of what we are able to do in Talamanca. During the main monitoring season of mid‐February to early May (corresponding to the dry season) we find that we are normally able to carry out complete biomonitoring (fish, macroinvertebrates and habitat) of about 30 sites. This obviously requires a high degree of selectivity; we finish each season with a mental list of rivers and communities we wish we had had a chance to visit. One way to narrow this gap is through the deployment of groups of community‐based parataxonomists trained in all aspects of biomonitoring, with emphasis on methods which do not depend on costly technology. Community‐based biomonitoring has three great advantages: 1. It continually focuses the members of rural communities on biodiversity and environmental issues in a positive way, through activities which the participants often describe as “fun.” 2. While attempting to apply the results obtained by community volunteers who in many cases do not have so much as a high school diploma will raise questions of credentials in some circles, their data is very useful to the ANAI team in terms of “flagging” sites and situations for our attention. We anticipate that over the years, as
the community biomonitoring teams become both more numerous and more proficient, our selection of sites for intensive, technical monitoring will better correspond to actual conservation needs and opportunities. It is the first training ground for individuals who may eventually become part of the ANAI biomonitoring team and/or go on to earn degrees and become conservation professionals in other institutions.
Selection of communities: The first step in development of our community‐based biomonitoring educational program was the selection of pilot communities, based on considerations of geographic coverage, cultural diversity and presence of a few outstanding individuals in two categories – high school students and adults belonging to important community groups or local conservation organizations. Our initial choices were Yorkin, Amubri and Bocuare: Yorkin is a binational Bribri community with a long history of successful participation in other ANAI programs (ecotourism and organic agroforestry), strong community organizations and a “tele‐high school” which permits young people to further their education while remaining in the community. For reasons of topography and remote location Yorkin, accessible only by river, has never been invaded by agribusiness monocrop agriculture, and consequently boasts one of the healthiest watersheds in Talamanca. (Yorkin’s location on the Panamanian border facilitated the incorporation of two Panamanian Naso parataxonomists on some occasions, who also acted as assistant instructors in some aspects of the work.) Amubri, one of the two major centers of indigenous population in Talamanca, is located in the heart of the alluvial Talamanca Valley, and is the seat of a number of dynamic local organizations. Located in the midst of some of the best agricultural soils in Talamanca, the Amubri area has historically been an agricultural center, which in recent years has turned increasingly to organic agroforestry. Bocuare, a non‐indigenous community in the Estrella Valley on the fringes of the largest monocrop banana growing area in south Atlantic Costa Rica, is located near an unusual diversity of rivers ranging from pristine to totally modified and contaminated. For this reason, but even more because of the presence of a particularly dynamic and conservation‐minded school director, Bocuare has for some years been a center of activity for the ANAI biomonitoring team. Ultimately we decided not to focus on Bocuare in the first year of the project because one of ANAI’s sister organizations, the Talamanca Biological Corridor Federation, had two major projects planned for the school and community there, and we did not wish to supersaturate a single small community and school with projects. In place of Bocuare, we settled on a third indigenous community: Sibuju is the most readily accessible of the Cabecar communities of Talamanca and serves as a focal point for Cabecar organizations. This choice allowed us to take advantage of synergies with the ANAI/APPTA program of training for organic and fair trade agricultural inspectors (see preceding section), which is organized around 3 geographic centers ‐ the Bribri‐Yorkin and Amubri‐Katsi sectors in the Talamanca Bribri Indigenous Reserve, and Sibuju‐San Vicente‐San Miguel in the Talamanca Cabecar Indigenous Reserve. In years to come, we will extend the geographic reach and expand the human diversity of our environmental education project by
focusing on the Estrella Valley (where APPTA is not strongly represented) and the non‐ indigenous communities of the region. Participants: In all, 27 participants, ranging in age from 12 to 75, several of them employed as APPTA inspectors, enrolled in the pilot program. A total of 17 (from the Yorkin and Sibuju groups) completed the program. They included 11 Bribris and 6 Cabecars. Of the 11 Bribri, 5 were Panamanian citizens and 6 Costa Rican. Taken together, the group comprised 11 men and 6 women. Objectives: Our general objective was defined as “to train a group of enthusiastic individuals in methods of assessing the ecological health of rivers and creeks using low cost, easily manageable and understandable tools and methods.” While each training program was to some degree tailored to the conditions and needs of particular watershed areas and communities, the overall objective was maintained at each of the 3 sites, with completion of the following steps as specific objectives: • Determination of suitable field sites. • Formation of working groups. • Formal commitment to the work to be done, beginning with the planning phase. • Presentation by the ANAI team on the history and purpose of the Biomonitoring Program. • Explanation of monitoring methods to be used. • Demonstration of the field process, including identification of fish; collection, preservation and identification of macroinvertebrates, application of the SVAP habitat index, and use of field data sheets. • Discussion of the concept of ecosystem health as it relates to specific study sites. • Training in calculation of the IBI‐VI, BMWP‐CR and SVAP‐TAL indices. • Explanation of how to use these indices to arrive at a final Bioclass Rating reflecting the health of a study site. • Preparation of field notes based on results from a study site. • Development of permanent records of field results. • Use of biomonitoring results to assess local watershed problems and ways to eliminate or mitigate them. • Planning for future work. Activities: In practice, the project unfolded as follows in the communities: • Initial meetings were used to evaluate the interest and current level of knowledge of the participants and to select a watershed area and specific monitoring sites in or near the community. These meetings always involved principal community leaders so as to avoid any doubts about the relation of the project to the community and to facilitate future meetings. Follow‐up meetings were held with specific groups and leaders as necessary. In Yorkin, the relationship with the tele‐high school was particularly important, and provides a model for future school‐community biomonitoring group linkages.
At the initial meeting, or as soon as possible thereafter, a calendar was created for subsequent meetings, presentations and field work sessions. (Here may be the point to mention the difficulties imposed by the necessity to schedule educational activities outside the main monitoring period, in what often amounts to the rainy season. Not only can heavy rains render streams unworkable even when they are not manifestly unsafe, and leave roads and stream crossings impassable, but these problems are exacerbated by the inevitable communications problems in communities where participants may live an hour or more by foot from the nearest telephone). Subsequent presentations on the Biomonitoring Program in general and its specific components were made by staff members Maribel Mafla and Ana Maria Arías, followed by field exercises with fish, macroinvertebrate and habitat assessment indices at a series of sites. Recording and maintenance of data files, including field data and the results of application of the indices was the subject of separate additional work sessions. Following a complete review of the concept of biomonitoring and its uses, identification of organisms, calculation of indices, development of bioclass ratings and management of data and other information, for each site the group discussed the implications of the results in terms of identification of problems and possible solutions (including the preservation of extremely healthy streams).
Results: Only the 17 members of the Yorkin and Sibuju groups completed the program; in the case of the Amubri group, a series of events including several occasions on which it rained torrentially on the day of scheduled activities, priority necessarily given by the inspectors ( who comprised 6 of the 10 members of the Amubri group) to an APPTA contract, and a visit to Amubri from a world health mission, prevented them from moving past the phase of presentations and planning to complete the necessary field work. Finally a decision was made to select dates during which the Biomonitoring Team can maintain residence in Amubri until at least one round of field work can be completed. As of the date of preparation of this report, this activity was pending.
Figure 8. Members of the Yorkin community biomonitoring group, with biologist Maribel Mafla, carrying out physical habitat evaluation (SVAP index).
The Yorkin and Sibuju groups completed the monitoring process on 6 separate sites, results of which are displayed in the table below. It must be noted that results of fish and macroinvertebrate monitoring from dates outside the main dry season are not strictly comparable with prior data accumulated by the biomonitoring team during the main monitoring season (due to seasonal migratory movements by fish, emergence dates of insect larvae and involuntary transport of both groups during high flow periods). This result, while perhaps inconvenient in some respects, also provided a teaching opportunity, allowing us to emphasize the dynamic nature of biotic communities, and their response to natural changes. With certain limitations, the trainees’ data are generally comparable with our previous results from the same sites, and will be included in our database. Table 2. Results of evaluations by the Community Biomonitoring Groups. Grupo Yorkin
Sitio evaluado Río Bris Río Tscui Río Dacle Quebrada Sheuab Quebrada Sinadira Río Shimuri
IBIVI 50 Listado de especies 45 Listado de especies 51 Listado de especies
BMWPCR 107 108 50 118 137 133
SVAP 8,5 8,5 6,4 8,1 9,3 8,4
Bioclase Final BUENO BUENO REGULAR BUENO EXCELENTE BUENO
Color coding Excellent Good
Fair Poor Very Poor
However, it is critical to stress that in this case the data are not the principal result. Rather, the most important result is the completion of the process and the educational value imparted. Our evaluation is that about half of the trainees are currently technically capable of carrying out the full biomonitoring process without the necessity of presence by ANAI technical staff. Perhaps the greatest limitation noted is that the two groups seem to have difficulty in designating their own leaders. We hope to be able to facilitate this process in 2009 in order to have at least 2 completely independent community biomonitoring groups in action by the end of the year. In all cases, the community groups are provided with essential materials, including audiovisual and printed training materials, laminated sheets to be used in identification of fish and macroinvertebrates and calculation of biotic indices, face masks and snorkels, and field notebooks and data sheets. However in the case of Yorkin all of these materials were stored in the facilities of STIBRAWPA, which were completely destroyed during the flood of November 23, 2008, occasioning total loss of everything other than the data, which fortunately existed in duplicate form in the ANAI offices. One more result which should be mentioned with pride has to do with the participation by 4 members of the Yorkin group in the annual Environmental Fair sponsored by the Talamanca‐ Caribbean Corridor Commission in Bribri. For the occasion they prepared a 3‐dimensional relief map of the Yorkin watershed which was used to demonstrate the function of a watershed but perhaps more importantly provided background for the exposition of their accomplishments as the first fully trained community stream biomonitoring group in the region.
Figure 9. APPTA inspectors from the village of Sibuju collecting benthic macroinvertebrates during our first workshop in this indigenous Cabecar community.
Participation in ANAI Workshops: During 2008, the Biomonitoring Team participated in 2 ANAI workshops, cosponsored by APPTA and COCABO, and supported by EcoAgriculture Partners, the Development Fund (Norway), Rhode Island Sea Grant and Community Church of Colorado, with the same title, “Leadership for Sustainable Community Development” but directed at quite different audiences: The first of these workshops, billed as “binational”, was attended by indigenous leaders (Ngobe, Naso and Bribri), many of them farmers and members of COCABO, from throughout the province of Bocas del Toro, Panama. The second, described as a “regional exchange” was for leaders of conservation NGO’s with long term goals similar to ANAI’s. Attendees came from Puerto Rico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador. Although the diversity of experience was obviously greater in the Regional Exchange group, and their generally higher educational level permitted a different sort of theoretical discussion in some areas, the two workshops were very similar in several respects: • Both courses were held at a variety of facilities in Talamanca ‐ the ANAI field office in Hone Creek, the APPTA office in Bribri and processing plant in Sandbox, the Educational Farm (owned and managed by the Bribri/Cabecar indigenous community) in Shiroles, the community‐ based ecotourist facilities of Casa Calathea in Carbon Dos and STIBRAWPA in Yorkin, a former ANAI sea turtle conservation project (now managed by WIDECAST) linked to community‐based ecotourism in Gandoca, and a diversity of protected areas and private farms. This permitted the course participants to observe the full range of activities in which ANAI has been involved over the years, and exchange ideas with many of the individuals who have both made possible and benefitted from these initiatives.
Figure 10. Some of the participants in the workshop “Leadership for Sustainable Community Development: the Integrative Approach of the Talamanca Initiative”, with Biomonitoring Program Directors William O. McLarney and Maribel Mafla, and ANAI Executive Director Benson Venegas.
• Both attempted to achieve a balance between theoretical discussion and practical experience in the field. (Although heavy rains forced the cancellation of some field activities for the Regional Exchange group, who left the STIBRAWPA facility in Yorkin less than a week before it was destroyed by unprecedented flooding.) In terms of biomonitoring this implied a condensation into one day of field experiences similar to those offered over a period of months to the community groups described above. Most of a second day spent with the ANAI Biomonitoring Team was devoted to discussing what was learned in the field in the context of situations confronting the course participants in their own places of work. • In both workshops, stream biomonitoring was presented as a tool which can be developed for community use and which permits the identification of problems, threats and conservation opportunities while facilitating the search for and evaluation of solutions. Maintenance of water quality and aquatic biodiversity was presented as a measure of success in the quest for sustainability. • A starting point for both workshops was the concept of the watershed as a logical unit of conservation and sustainable development planning. Agendas (in Spanish) for both workshops, including the non‐biomonitoring components, may be found in Appendix D.
Fresh Water Fishes of Talamanca Monograph: The long‐awaited monograph on fresh water fishes of Talamanca continues to progress. New developments in 2008 include: • A full formal citation, as follows: McLarney, William O. , Ana Maria Arias y Maribel Mafla. Peces de Agua Dulce de la Gran Talamanca, Costa Rica. In prep. approx. 150 pp. • Completion of the text of a taxonomic key to the freshwater fishes of Talamanca, prepared by Ana Maria Arias and former Biomonitoring volunteer Diego Rivera. (The key will be included in the monograph if we can find financial support for the necessary technical drawings.) • Completion, by volunteer Teresa Rosello, of the species distribution maps, including information provided by University of Idaho graduate student Chris Lorion, whose 2006‐2007 studies contributed significantly to our knowledge of fish distribution in relation to forest cover. • Preparation of a Table of Contents. • Production of sample sections (see Appendix E to this report), including ‐ Cover page ‐ Table of Contents ‐ Introduction ‐ Two sample species descriptions, with distribution maps and photos • Translation of the sample sections into English, preparatory to development of an English language version. The major obstacle to finalizing publication of the mongraph at this time is financial; negotiations are underway with two possible sources of funds. Guide to diadromous fishes: In addition to using the UNESCO Mission visit in February to debut our paper on probable effects of hydro dams in the Changuinola/Teribe watershed (cited in last year’s report), we took advantage of that occasion to bring out a popular publication, in Spanish and English, on the diadromous fishes of La Amistad (included in Appendix B): Asociacion ANAI. 2008. Peces Diadromos del Parque Internacional La Amistad. Asociacion ANAI. San Jose, Costa Rica. 16 pp. Report on our 2006 work in the Rio Madre de Dios watershed: One of the highlights of our 2006 monitoring season was our contract work for MINAE (Costa Rican Ministry of Natural Resources, now MINAET) in the Pacuare/Madre de Dios
watershed north of Limon, including our first efforts at sampling in coastal lagoons. For various reasons final publication of our report on this work was delayed until April, 2008: Asociacion ANAI. 2008. Biomonitoreo Participativo ANAI‐MINAE en la Cuenca del Rio Madre de Dios. Informe Final. Asociacion ANAI. San Jose, Costa Rica. 57 pp. IBIVI Guide: This 29 page illustrated guide is designed for both popular and technical use. It contains a step by step description of the methodology for carrying out a visual Index of Biotic Integrity (IBIVI) by observing fishes in the water, and serves as a complement to pre‐existing guides on macroinvertebrates and habitat assessment. Photos of all fresh water fishes commonly seen in Talamanca make use of the “field mark” system, originated by Roger Tory Peterson for his pioneering bird guide, as an aid to learning and identifying species. Improved macroinvertebrate field guide: We are in the process of adding 17 families to our laminated macroinvertebrate field guide, which is complete except for a few of the photographs. This brings the total number of orders represented in the guide to 13 and families to 74, for a complete representation of all the groups students in our community biomonitoring groups or other investigators are likely to find in the field in Talamanca. We hope to have these ready for distribution in early 2009. Posters: With the assistance of the Yorkin community biomonitoring group we were able to produce four 39 x 28 inch posters. The first illustrates the concept of biomonitoring, while the rest illustrate our 3 basic monitoring methodologies, based on fish, macroinvertebrates and physical habitat assessment. The posters are made of a tough, water resistant material which can safely be transported over long distances to remote communities. 3Dimensional map: Not exactly a “publication” perhaps, but the 3 dimensional model of the Yorkin watershed, measuring 3 x 4 ft., made by 4 students from Yorkin, with the aid of ANAI staff and volunteers (See photo.), has served a similar educational purpose, beginning with its use in the annual Talamanca Environmental Fair. Plans are to expand it to cover the entire region between the Rios Estrella and Sixaola, with watershed boundaries, proportion of forest cover and other important features illustrated. Logo: Finally, we would like to draw attention to the new official logo of the ANAI Talamanca Stream Biomonitoring Project, which will henceforth appear alongside the ANAI logo on all our publications. The new logo, designed by staff volunteer Claudia Cheng, shows one of our great rivers descending from the Continental Divide in the mountains of La Amistad, where the rivers of Greater Talamanca are born. The human family, representing the indigenous inhabitants of
Talamanca, are accompanied by a diadromous fish (the bobo or bocachica) symbolizing the freshwater/marine linkage and an adult dragonfly searching for the best place to lay its eggs, symbolizing the terrestrial/aquatic linkage.
Figure 11. Example of the posters produced with the aid of community groups.
Figure 12. New official logo of the ANAI Talamanca Stream Biomonitoring Project.
7. CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS UNESCO Mission: Probably the most important series of meetings of the year were those organized around the visit of a UNESCO mission (Marc Patry of UNESCO, based in France and two San Jose‐based experts, Alberto Salas of IUCN and Jim Barborak of Conservation International) in February, in response to concerns raised by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and their Panamanian partners, (Asociacion para Conservacion y Desarrollo and several smaller NGO’s) re threats to the integrity of the binational La Amistad International Peace Park and Biosphere Reserve and its continuing status as a World Heritage Site. In addition to private meetings with the Mission, CBD lawyers Linda Barrera and Jason Gray, and representatives of various Panamanian organizations, ANAI staff Bill McLarney and Maribel Mafla presented written information on the issue of diadromous fish and shrimps as related to proposed dam projects in the Changuinola/Teribe watershed and also participated in: • An opening plenary session in San Jose, organized by MINAE where we elaborated our viewpoint on the diadromy issue for representatives from MINAE, ANAM, the UNESCO mission, representatives of ADITIBRI and ADITICA (Bribri and Cabecar tribal governments) and several Costa Rica‐based NGO’s. • A following session, organized by ADITIBRI and ADITICA, held at the ADITIBRI offices in Suretka, Talamanca, where Bill McLarney was invited to speak on the diadromy issue. In addition to UNESCO and government agencies, this meeting was attended by representatives of several Bribri and Cabecar community groups and members of the general public from the Talamanca Indigenous Reserves. • A public forum, organized by ANAM and held at the Changuinola campus of the University of Panama, where Bill McLarney participated in workshop sessions on dams and diadromy. This forum, in which several hundred people participated, was attended by the UNESCO mission, MINAE, CBD, representatives of all 4 indigenous tribes from the La Amistad region (Naso, Ngobe, Bribri and Cabecar), and a diversity of NGO’s ranging from international and Panamanian conservation organizations, to community‐based groups from the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of both Panama and Costa Rica. Taken together, the meetings organized around the UNESCO mission constituted the best opportunity we have ever had to present the diadromy issue, and the role of biomonitoring and the ANAI program in dealing with it, to a variety of international organizations, both Costa Rican and Panamanian government environmental authorities, organized indigenous groups, and a wide cross section of a binational public. La Amistad Annual “Birthday Party”: Simultaneously with the UNESCO mission visit, the La Amistad International Park celebrated its annual anniversary of being declared a park and World Heritage Site, which this year was held in the Pacific Sector of the Costa Rican portion. For the occasion, The Nature Conservancy invited the ANAI Biomonitoring Team to make a presentation, as representatives of a scientific group working in the Atlantic Zone. While Bill McLarney was occupied with the
UNESCO mission in Changuinola, Maribel Mafla represented ANAI on this occasion, giving a PowerPoint presentation on our work and relating it to the controversy unfolding in the Changuinola/Teribe watershed of La Amistad/Panama. While the dams/diadromy question was news to some attendees, it was heartening to see that others, both Costa Ricans and Panamanians, were well aware of the issues. Apart from specific issues, this was an excellent opportunity to contribute to providing groups in other regions with a new conservation tool, while advertising our accomplishments in the field of biodiversity conservation and our availability as an educational resource.
Figure 13. Program Codirector Maribel Mafla at the entrance to PILA, Pacific sector, during the PILA "birthday party".
Washington, D.C. Visit: During November 16‐20, Bill McLarney made a multipurpose visit to Washington, D.C. as representative of ANAI in a group which also included representatives of the Little Tennessee Watershed Association and the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee. A primary focus of the trip was fundraising for all 3 organizations, including linkages between Dr. McLarney’s biomonitoring work in Greater Talamanca and a similar project he has directed for 19 years in the upper Little Tennessee Watershed of North Carolina and Georgia. This concept (with emphasis on the U.S. component) was the principal topic of presentations for staff of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, World Wildlife Fund and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Other activities during this trip included:
Meeting with Randy Curtis and Karin Krchnak of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). This meeting was in some respects a continuation of an earlier conference call with Randy Curtis, plus Brian Richter and Jeff Opperman of the TNC Fresh Water Group re dam policy ‐ in the ongoing context of Changuinola/Teribe watershed issues, but also in general. Meeting with Carmen Revenga and T.J. Heibel of the TNC Conservation Strategies Group re strategies for publicizing the diadromy issue worldwide. A first step is already underway in the form of an article by Bill McLarney for the TNC in‐house publication Science Chronicles. Meeting with Sarah Gannon‐Nagle and Brian Hayum of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of International Conservation, re an ANAI Biomonitoring Program proposal to carry out biomonitoring and training activities related to dam and mining proposals in the La Amistad buffer zone of the Sixaola/Telire and Estrella watersheds in Costa Rica during 2009. (See also Plans for the Future section below.) Meeting with Brent Whitaker and other staff of the National Aquarium Institute, assisted by Glenn Page, former education director of the National Aquarium, re possible ANAI/Aquarium collaboration. This has resulted in a draft Memorandum of Understanding, which we hope to formalize soon. (See Plans for the Future section.) Informal discussion with Osvaldo Jordan of Asociacion para Conservacion y Desarrollo, the Panamanian NGO most closely involved with the Changuinola/Teribe dam issues. He was in Washington with a delegation of Naso and Ngobe representatives (which included ANAI‐trained Naso parataxonomist Hugo Sanchez) for an audience with the Inter‐American Human Rights Commission.
Other meetings and presentations:
* In October, the Biomonitoring Team, together with 4 representatives of the Community Biomonitoring Group from Yorkin, made a presentation at the annual Talamanca and Estrella Valley Environmental Fair, organized by the Talamanca/Caribbean Biological Corridor Commission, held at the Agricultural Technical High School in Bribri. This event was attended by students from the majority of the public schools of the region, plus many other groups and individuals interested in conservation and environmental issues. This provided an excellent opportunity for students from Yorkin to share what they have learned from participation in stream biomonitoring with their peers and the general public. For the ANAI team the opportunity was to project the concept of Community Biomonitoring Groups throughout the region. * Meetings at the ANAI office in Hone Creek in February and June, with representatives of Consorcio Alianza Bocas (Olman Varela and Juan Carlos Barrantes), Fundacion Naso (Felix Sanchez) and the Central American office of IUCN (Jackie Siles and Grettel Montero), led to the development, financing and execution of plans for further training for Naso parataxonomists Marcio Bonilla and Hugo Sanchez and subsequent evaluation of Fundacion Naso’s work in biomonitoring in the Teribe watershed. * A series of talks by Maribel Mafla for students at Casa Calateas (the community ecotourism facility of ASODECC, in the community of Carbon Dos, in the Hone Creek watershed), organized by Luis Zuniga of ASODECC, were followed by visits to Hone Creek and to the Rio
Cerere in the Hitoy‐Cerere Biological Reserve, designed to illustrate the differences between a totally conserved watershed and one suffering from poor land use and overdevelopment. * In April, Roger Bonilla of the ANAI staff in San Jose gave a PowerPoint presentation about our Stream Biomonitoring Program to a group of 7 North American students and a professor from the Center for Ecological Living and Learning, following their visit to the Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve and the Ecological Farm in Talamanca, in a trip organized by former ANAI staffer Leslie Grill. * Also in April the Biomonitoring Team did a one day aquatic biodiversity and biomonitoring demonstration at Hotel Creek in the Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve for a group of students organized by environmental educator Susana Schick, of Puerto Viejo.
Figure 14. Members of the Yorkin community biomonitoring group making a presentation during the annual Environmental Fair of the Talamanca/Caribbean Biological Corridor.
8. 2008 PROGRAM STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS Staff: The ongoing dilemma of the need for a third staff member to complement the work of codirectors Dr. Bill McLarney and Maribel Mafla vs. lack of a suitable (and affordable) candidate, was resolved in a somewhat unexpected manner in 2008. In our 2007 report we described the excellent work of intern Ana Maria Arias, and the use of program funds to facilitate extending her stay. Ana Maria left in November, to complete her degree at the University of Tolima, in her native Colombia (where portions of our monograph on the freshwater fishes of Talamanca formed part of her thesis). Subsequently she expressed a desire to continue her work in Talamanca, and returned to Costa Rica in August, 2008 as a full time member of the Biomonitoring staff. While she has specific expertise in macroinvertebrate taxonomy and particular responsibility to assist in finalizing the fresh water fishes monograph, the reality is that she has been and will continue to be fully involved in all phases of Biomonitoring Program work. We already note an increase in efficiency, which we anticipate will be reflected in our work throughout 2009. A portion of the funds for Ana Maria’s salary were liberated with the departure of apprentice Francisco Leal, who left in October to further his formal education in San Jose. While he will be missed, this was clearly the best choice for him personally. When, in April, it became necessary for the Biomonitoring Program to assume the costs of managing our El Cruce field station in Hone Creek (See following section on Related Events.) biomonitoring trainee Edward Stuart, from Kekoldi, became station manager. In November, he was succeeded by long‐time ANAI employee and some time biomonitoring volunteer Mauricio Loria. In addition to years of experience, Mauricio brings valuable expertise as a mechanic and professional driver. Volunteers/Interns: Sharon Gulick, from Maryland, with professional experience in American Samoa, Thailand and Japan, who began her association with the Biomonitoring Program in December, 2007, stayed into February. Without her assistance in the office during the normally busy mid‐winter season, it is difficult to see how we could have prepared adequately for the UNESCO Mission visit in February. Sharon was succeeded by Patricia Gonzalez and David Garcia of Spain, who brought particular expertise and experience in environmental education. Of course, like all volunteers, they wound up participating in all phases of the work, but especially in refining our IBIVI fish monitoring index. The international flavor was continued with the arrival in May of Claudia Cheng from Singapore, followed in September by Gregory Gueble from France. In addition to creating our new Program logo, Claudia was especially helpful in organizing Biomonitoring Program reports and other library materials, while Gregory found time to refurbish the ANAI website
(www.anaicr.org) and provide training for Biomonitoring staff in managing and updating it, both during his stay and on a continuing basis, via email. Although during the main biomonitoring season we recorded an impressive 659 volunteer hours in actual monitoring, the number of local volunteers (30) was considerably less than in most years. This was a necessary consequence of our emphasis on consolidating the IBIVI visual index. To accomplish this end we were obliged on numerous occasions to limit participation in the field work to staff and a few experienced volunteers. We anticipate a return to normal volunteer numbers in 2009. One local volunteer who made a significant contribution was Francisco Leal from Bocuare, who worked for several months as a volunteer before becoming a part time employee. In addition to duties related to his status as a benthic ecology trainee, he was the person primarily responsible for orienting new volunteers and assisted station manager Edward Stuart with maintenance and security tasks on a regular basis. Vital assistance was also provided by part‐time, San Jose‐based volunteer Teresa Rosello, who brings a background in environmental engineering and impressive expertise in computer mapping, graphics and statistics. Teresa has made it possible to finish the fish distribution maps for the monograph and assisted with multiple other mapping and graphics chores, while working steadily to make our database more accessible and usable for ANAI staff and others. She will remain with ANAI well into 2009.
9. RELATED EVENTS The ANAI Stream Biomonitoring Program does not exist in a vacuum. This is true at any time, but it seems that in 2008 we were especially affected by events fundamentally beyond our control. It is not possible to understand or evaluate our work without some information on at least 3 categories of largely “outside” events: The La Amistad Park – Threats and Opportunities: A large majority of the watershed area covered by the ANAI Stream Biomonitoring Program has its headwaters in what is officially known as (to give it all its titles) the La Amistad International Peace Park (PILA, from its Spanish acronym) and Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site. Since its creation in 1983 (Costa Rica) and 1990 (Panama), this 567,845 hectare natural area has been the beneficiary of benign neglect. While formally part of both the Costa Rican and Panamanian National Parks systems, neither country has anything approaching adequate personnel or funding to protect or appropriately take advantage of the single most biologically diverse protected area in Central America. Effectively, PILA has been largely protected by virtue of its huge size, remote location and the extreme difficulty of access. In Talamanca and Bocas del Toro, to access the park at most points requires a 2‐3 day walk from the nearest point accessible by motor vehicle or boat. And when Panamanian indigenous parataxonomists were required to sample in and downstream of PILA, they had to rely on the memories of neighbors who had guided survey crews in 1990 and before to determine the essentially unmarked park boundaries. Nevertheless, threats to PILA – and by extension to biodiversity and water quality downstream – have been latent and building for many years. Among the factors impinging on PILA today are: • Continuing population growth in the buffer zone. For example, as of about 2000, most of the buffer zone within the Talamanca Bribri Indigenous Reserve between the Rios Yorkin and Katsi was in natural forest. But when we surveyed streams along the PILA boundary in that area in 2007 we found that most of the land up to the park boundary had been converted to one or another form of agricultural use. • Enhanced access due to infrastructure development in the buffer zone. With the completion of a bridge over the Rio Estrella at Penshurst in 1976, Talamanca and Bocas del Toro were for the first time connected by highway to the population center of Costa Rica. Perhaps even more critical was the completion in 2004 of a highway from David on the Pacific coast of Panama, across a portion of PILA, to Chiriqui Grande and Almirante, on the Atlantic coast of Bocas del Toro. • Plans have existed on paper for development of hydropower resources on rivers flowing out of PILA in both countries at least since the early 1980’s. In 2004 hydro dams transformed from being a potential threat to an imminent one in Panama, with the activation of
controversial dam projects on the Rios Changuinola and Bonyic. The danger is of permanent losses to biodiversity in these rivers, and also in some smaller rivers on the Pacific slope of PILA. • On the Costa Rican side, at least, but possibly in Panama as well, there are concerns about mining concessions in the buffer zone, and possibly within PILA itself. In October, a scandal over alleged improper granting of mining concessions in the Rio Uren watershed led to the deposition of several ADITIBRI officials and a moratorium on mining concessions on both indigenous and non‐indigenous lands imposed by the Municipality of Talamanca. • As was brought out in the UNESCO Mission meetings in February, there are also concerns, particularly in the Panamanian portion of PILA near the David‐Bocas del Toro highway, about a variety of encroachments into PILA for purposes of logging, cattle grazing and illegal hunting. • In this and other areas, for example the Rio Tscui watershed in Panama, parts of PILA are being colonized, both by an expanding indigenous population and by white settlers from Panama’s Pacific province of Chiriqui. At the same time (and at least in part prompted by these concerns) appreciation of PILA’s importance is growing. In 2008, an expedition of investigators from INBIO, the Universities of Costa Rica and Panama and the British Natural History Museum discovered several species of salamanders, frogs and plants new to science in an extremely remote high altitude area near the international boundary. And the controversy about the dams facilitated the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) to undertake the first‐ ever comprehensive inventories of terrestrial and aquatic fauna and flora in a portion of the upper Changuinola watershed straddling the boundary between PILA and its buffer zone in Ngobe territory. Increased positive and negative attention to the situation of PILA has not been without its effect on ANAI and our Biomonitoring Program. Because of our mission as a sustainable development and community conservation organization, ANAI has traditionally focused its efforts on the populated areas of Greater Talamanca, rather than on the neighboring wilderness. However, we were compelled to pay attention to “the Park” when it became clear that hydro dam proposals which would directly affect streams and human communities in the buffer zone (Naso and Ngobe territory) had the potential to also have serious indirect biological consequences within PILA, even though there would be no infrastructure within the protected area. This concern was initially reflected in the work of the Naso and Ngobe parataxonomists trained by ANAI, who evaluated stream sites within and just downstream of PILA. One valuable byproduct of this effort was a growing realization that PILA, traditionally seen by many of its indigenous neighbors as simply an “off‐limits” preserve controlled by white people, provided benefits to their communities. This in turn enhances the possibility of forming effective conservation coalitions involving both traditional indigenous communities and non‐indigenous environmentalists. Work with the parataxonomists was followed in 2006 by an invitation from the Nature Conservancy/Costa Rica to evaluate streams in the Costa Rican portion of PILA and its buffer zone. (See our 2007 report for a description of this work.)
This trend has been amplified by several events during the period of this report: •
One of the results of the UNESCO Mission visit was a strong recommendation to the Panamanian and Costa Rican governments for evaluation and monitoring of biodiversity and related concerns in PILA and its buffer zone if they wish to retain the World Heritage Site designation. Release of STRI’s data on the aquatic component in the upper Changuinola watershed provided impetus for an invitation from TNC/Panama to submit a proposal toward full integration of biomonitoring methodologies into the monitoring of PILA. We hope to begin this work in 2009.
During 2008, we were able to obtain, from ICE (the Costa Rican national electrical utility) details on plans for no less than 16 hydroelectric dams in the Sixaola/Telire watershed downstream of PILA. This information, together with several public statements from ICE officials and the clear commitment of ICE to dam construction in other parts of Costa Rica stimulated us to prioritize dam site considerations in planning our biomonitoring work for 2009 and beyond. This perforce entails an emphasis on PILA and its immediate buffer zone.
Disclosure of mining concessions in the Rio Uren watershed just downstream of (and possibly within) PILA had the same effect. The moratorium on mining concessions declared by the Municipality of Talamanca notwithstanding, we consider it prudent to begin to gather information on the biota of the upper Uren watershed in and downstream of PILA.
The net effect of all these and other events has been to compel us to think more about PILA and to plan monitoring work in and near the Park for 2009. As things have evolved, we do not see this as at variance with our community conservation mission. PILA has always served to protect biodiversity resources beyond its boundaries. As these boundaries become more accessible it is of increasing concern, not just to traditional conservationists, but to all who live, work or recreate in Greater Talamanca to safeguard the biological health of this totally unique protected area. We anticipate more and closer involvement with PILA in the years to come. Economic Factors: Development and growth of the Stream Biomonitoring Program within ANAI has coincided with lean years for the institution as a whole. We may presume that recent trends in the world economy will, at best, not have a salutary effect on this situation or on funding for the Biomonitoring Program. To cite one interesting example, recent unanticipated shortfalls in funding for the Little Tennessee Watershed Association in the US have caused that organization to shelve plans to collaborate with ANAI in creating a binational salaried position for program director Dr. Bill McLarney, which would have relieved funding pressure on ANAI and our Biomonitoring Program. But even prior to the world economic downturn, the Biomonitoring Program was affected by the economic reality of ANAI. This became manifest in April, when we had to take over management of the El Cruce field office. The El Cruce station was initally built in 1991, when
ANAI maintained a fleet of vehicles and a large field staff, principally associated with the successful development of the organic agroforestry initiative (now largely managed by APPTA and COCABO). It provided office, dormitory, garage, storage and workshop facilities for what were normally large numbers of staff, volunteers and visitors, plus a 4 ha. farm used primarily as a germ plasm source. With the transfer of major portions of responsibility for agroforestry to other institutions, and downsizing of other program areas, coupled with improved transportation between Talamanca and San Jose (obligating less frequent and shorter overnight stays and permitting centralization of office work) and a disproportionate downturn in funding for other programs, the Biomonitoring Program became the principal users of the El Cruce station. This even though maintenance costs, utilities, security and a station manager’s salary and benefits continued to be paid through ANAI’s General Support funds. When this situation became untenable, the Biomonitoring Program took over the facility. To date the biomonitoring team, with full time help first from Edward Stuart and since October Mauricio Loria, plus generous collaboration from resident volunteers, has been able to support all expenses and even make some improvements largely based on funds realized through rental of dormitory, storage, conference room and garage facilities to volunteers, students, technicians and researchers with associated institutions, visitors and friends. But even with one full time employee devoted solely to station management, it does take time away from actual biomonitoring work by staff and volunteers, a fact inevitably reflected in the volume of work we do and our reporting on it. (See the section on Plans for the Future for more on this situation.) The Flood of 2008: In late November, 2008 a low pressure system stalled over the Atlantic slope of eastern Costa Rica and western Panama, producing what amounted to 2 weeks of continuous rain. In the middle of this, the region also experienced a significant earthquake (6.2 on the Richter scale) which, while centered on the Pacific slope near the international boundary, produced landslides in parts of Talamanca and Bocas del Toro. The end result was what some are calling the worst flood since the legendary flood of 1970. In reality, the effects of this event were spotty, ranging from little more than the normal inconvenience associated with annual flooding in some areas to disastrous in others. As of this writing we are still gathering information on effects in remote areas, but we do know that: • There were no flood‐related deaths in Costa Rica, though we have received unconfirmed reports of drownings and disappearances in the Changuinola and Teribe watersheds in Panama. • Unlike other floods we have experienced, there did not seem to be any clear geographic pattern to the damage; with both high and low altitude sites experiencing a full range of damage, from negligible to catastrophic. • In the interior indigenous reserves, the most uniform damage was to food crops, normally planted in the floodplains. While most cash crops, particularly cacao, and most community infrastructure, traditionally located on higher ground, suffered only partial damage, many indigenous communities face at least a year of food shortages.
There was serious damage to highways and bridges in many areas, most notably to the David‐Bocas del Toro highway in Panama, which may not be rebuilt for several months. A number of communities were, and still may be, isolated from the outside world. A fair number of streams have been seen to significantly change course, sometimes with concomitant damage to crops and infrastructure.
Almost certainly the worst damage was suffered by the binational Bribri community of Yorkin, situated at the confluence of the Yorkin and Tscui Rivers. There a combination of debris dams and earthquake‐triggered landslides caused the Tscui to temporarily change course, sending an estimated 90 ft. wall of water through part of the community, including the facilities of STIBRAWPA, the women’s group which has played a lead role in all of ANAI’s activities in the Yorkin watershed, including the Biomonitoring Program. All occupants escaped to higher ground while flooding was still moderate, but STIBRAWPA lost 5 of their 6 buildings (including a new ecotourist lodge), all of their boats (essential in a community only accessible by river), and all of their records and memorabilia (including a guest book which would have facilitated seeking donations from past visitors); most outboard motors were salvaged. Yorkin also lost its public health clinic and a foot bridge over the Tscui which linked two halves of the community. Many residents also lost their houses, boats, crops and domestic animals. Prior to the disaster, Yorkin had been Talamanca’s showcase for community‐based ecotourism, and was one of our favored sites for courses and conferences. Just 3 days before the disaster, we had completed a 3 day portion of a sustainable development workshop with participants from 13 countries. (Described above in the section on Environmental Education.) In terms of our activities for 2008, the major effect of the Yorkin flood has been to divert staff time and funds to the relief effort, in which the main outside participants have been ANAI, ATEC (the Talamanca Ecotourism Council) and ACTUAR (a national community ecotourism organization of which both ANAI and STIBRAWPA were founding members). This is a principal reason we are late in getting this report out. Financial and other needs will continue; anyone interested in helping can inquire or route donations through ANAI, Inc. in the US or Asociacion ANAI in Costa Rica.
Figure 15. Panoramic view of the Rio Tscui at the former location of the STIBRAWPA facilities in Yorkin.
In the longer term, the flood of 2008 will have four principal implications for the ANAI Biomonitoring Program, in Yorkin and, to degrees yet to be determined, in other parts of Greater Talamanca:
1. Biological effects will have to be assessed and, floods being part of the natural scheme of things, should not be automatically taken to be negative everywhere. However, it is hard to be optimistic about the Yorkin watershed which has historically been the healthiest of the 5 major watersheds which form the Rio Sixaola. Initial impacts on the lower Rio Tscui, which was one of two Reference quality sites on rivers of its size, are bound to be severe. 2. Our efforts to develop community biomonitoring groups will likely be set back in many places, as people necessarily devote effort to recouping losses and possibly through traumatic effects of the flood experience. This will unfortunately be particularly true of Yorkin which, as you may read elsewhere in this report, was the home of our most outstanding community biomonitoring group. 3. The experience raises questions about stream biomonitoring in the humid tropics which we are only beginning to evaluate. To what extent do the events of 2008 fall within the natural range of variability and are they related to anthropogenically induced climate change? Should occasional catastrophic events be viewed as part of a natural mosaic acting upon the larger landscape? How should we evaluate a severely altered stream, such as the Rio Tscui, in 2009? Over the long run will biomonitoring support ecological theory by showing that a previously healthy stream in a largely forested watershed, like the Rio Tscui, proves to be more resilient than some counterpart in a heavily impacted setting? Human losses notwithstanding, the questions raised in no. 3 above, and others, pose a fascinating scientific challenge. The ANAI Biomonitoring Program’s ability to rise to this challenge is severely limited, in terms of personnel, funding and technical capability, but also in terms of our mission. While we certainly must think about these questions, and they certainly will affect our choice of monitoring sites for the foreseeable future, it would be irresponsible on our part to substantially derail our community‐based work to pursue scientific trails. However, the situation does suggest the potential to contribute to answering these questions, while helping to fund our core program and simultaneously bringing money into flood‐damaged communities through inviting and developing ways to collaborate with scientific investigators. We have already begun exploring these avenues; it may be that the Flood of 2008 will be remembered as the catalyst for major progress toward realizing our mission in Greater Talamanca through collaboration with academic and research institutions.
Figure 16. Panoramic view of our biomonitoring site on the Rio Tscui after the November flood.
10. PLANS FOR THE FUTURE Background: The topic of “plans for the future” was essentially covered last year in our Biomonitoring Program proposal. This year we have placed it in our annual report instead, in recognition of the uncertain proportion of our plans which we will be able to realize, an uncertainty which is heightened by the state of the economy now and for the foreseeable future. While any discrepancy between results anticipated in earlier proposals and those actually achieved will be found to be due largely to our failure to raise the amount of funds we had hoped for, we do not wish to appear to promise more than we may be able to deliver. Our 2009 program proposal, to three donors who have supported the Program over several years, will deal principally with our core program – the actual monitoring of stream sites in Greater Talamanca, interpretation and sharing of the results, and the provision of education and training in biomonitoring and biodiversity conservation for local residents and organizations. Given minimal support, we can in good faith promise to perform the tasks outlined under these rubrics. Performance of the tasks outlined in the remainder of this section will be contingent on receipt of funding for the specific activities mentioned. In some cases proposals are already under consideration by donors; in others they remain to be developed. Before outlining possible program areas, we should add that our approach to funding over and above the core is to a degree opportunistic, and necessarily so given our limited core budget. In the past, through necessity, we have taken on tasks we did not feel were central to our mission, for reasons which were primarily economic. In all cases, we are flattered when government agencies and larger organizations seek us out to provide professional assistance. And honesty compels us to admit that sometimes we realize unanticipated benefits. For example in 2006, our participation, through MINAE, in a project away from Talamanca in the Rio Madre de Dios, which we viewed to some extent as a distraction, allowed us to develop methodologies for monitoring coastal lagoons and other standing water bodies which will eventually prove valuable in Talamanca and Bocas del Toro. Without venturing to predict what other opportunities may come our way, we see 6 areas in which there is a reasonable possibility of becoming involved in 2009; all of them represent the outcome of meetings, discussions and activities during the course of our work in 2008. Courses and Workshops: It is virtually certain that the Biomonitoring Program will be involved in some activities under this rubric, similar to the two workshops reported on above (Environmental Education) during 2009. We cannot predict the exact nature of these events since they are initiated elsewhere in ANAI. Although the profile of participants in these courses varies greatly, from groups of campesino leaders largely lacking in formal education to highly trained technicians from NGO’s with missions similar to ANAI’s, the curriculum is roughly the same. Aquatic biodiversity and biomonitoring are seen as components of a larger process of sustainable development and community conservation, and are presented in context, with a portion of funds received dedicated to maintenance of the Biomonitoring Program.
There also exists the possibility to develop multiple‐day courses and workshops dedicated exclusively to aquatic issues. Several organizations have inquired about this possibility, but so far no source of funding sufficiently promising to provoke the elaboration of a full proposal has appeared. Possibilities related to PILA: Recent increased attention to PILA, following the UNESCO mission visit in February, has opened up several possibilities, two of which we are actively pursuing: 1. We have a proposal currently under consideration by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Division of International Conservation for work related to watersheds flowing out of PILA in Costa Rica between the Rio Estrella and the boundary with Panama at the Rio Yorkin. This work, motivated in large part by our concern over hydro dam and mining proposals in the Costa Rican portion of the PILA buffer zone, would entail biomonitoring (fish, macroinvertebrates and habitat assessment) in and downstream of proposed dam and mining sites, with particular attention to evaluation of the diadromous component of the biota. It would include a biomonitoring training component primarily for the Bribri and Cabecar inhabitants of the zone, and would employ some of our Panamanian parataxonomists as trainers. We expect to hear about this proposal in early 2009, but receipt of funds may be delayed since the US federal budget is under Continuing Resolution, so that while funds may be allocated, they cannot be disbursed until such time as there is a functional national budget. 2. In what stands to be a parallel project in many respects, at the request of The Nature Conservancy’s office in Panama we have submitted a proposal to develop and execute the first year of what is projected to be a multi‐year biomonitoring and training program focusing on the watersheds of PILA/Panama and its buffer zone, including the Uren, Yorkin, Sixaola, San San, Teribe and Changuinola watersheds, plus coastal wetlands included in the San San/Pondsak Ramsar site. The long term goal is to build on recent biological inventory efforts in the area to put aquatic monitoring on a level of parity with terrestrial monitoring in terms of developing long term management strategies for PILA, and to involve the buffer zone populace in the execution of these strategies. We had expected to hear about funding of this proposal in December, but last minute budget cuts have forced TNC/Panama to reconsider their plans for 2009. There is still a possibility of initating this work in 2009, possibly with a reduced budget. Further work with MINAET/ACLAC: We are in the midst of a series of discussions initiated by Earl Junier of the Limon office of MINAET (formerly MINAE), flowing from our work with MINAE in the Madre de Dios/Pacuare watershed in 2007. Sr. Junier, supported by Edwin Cyrus, Director of the La Amistad Conservation Area (ACLAC), is interested in continuing collaboration with ANAI in the general area of biomonitoring and restoration in the Atlantic Zone. The extent to which we elect to pursue this option, and the forms of possible collaboration, will be largely determined by economic necessity. While the value of having the active support and encouragement of the principal government agency charged with conservation of natural resources should not be underestimated, such involvement would require a great deal of time away from, and reduce our efficiency in our principal service area of Talamanca/Valle de la Estrella. At a minimum, we will
use this opportunity as an occasion to continue to promote the integration of aquatic biomonitoring concepts and practices in MINAET’s normal operating plans. Proposed MOU with the National Aquarium Institute: The Biomonitoring Program, and other ANAI programs, receivemodest financial assistance, through the Center for Ecosystem Survival, from funds collected through the Ecological Parking Meter at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. In addition the Aquarium and the National Aquarium Institute have provided occasional assistance with various small initiatives by the Biomonitoring Program, most recently in the form of travel support for Bill McLarney’s visit to Washington in October. One of the results of that trip was a proposal for an MOU entailing partnership with the National Aquarium Institute in a number of activities. Pending formalization of the MOU, two such activities are under consideration: • Support for completion, publication and distribution of the Freshwater Fishes of Talamanca monograph. We envision sales of the book at the Aquarium gift shop and at ANAI facilities, with a portion of proceeds going to both partners. • Expert assistance in development of an onsite aquarium facility at our El Cruce field office in Hone Creek for educational, experimental and public display purposes. This is in turn seen as one element in upgrading the El Cruce facility and assuring its long term sustainability. Biomonitoring conference in Mexico: The ANAI Biomonitoring Program represents the first long term, sustained stream biomonitoring effort in the humid tropics. The only other major center of stream biomonitoring activity in the tropical world is at various sites in the dry tropical climate of Mexico, building on the pioneering work of John Lyons, of the University of Wisconsin, and his Mexican students. In comparative terms, the ANAI program is the stronger in terms of being able to integrate our biomonitoring practices and results into community‐based projects, with parataxonomist training and direct application to local issues. On the other hand, the practice of aquatic biomonitoring is much more widespread in Mexico, with a stronger scientific base and greater acceptance and application by government and academic institutions. A recent outgrowth of correspondence between ANAI biomonitoring staff and Dr. Lyons, his student Norman Mercado Silva and the preeminent Mexican ichthyologist, Salvador Contreras Balderas, has been a proposal for a Mesoamerican and Caribbean stream biomonitoring conference, to be organized by ANAI and various Mexican entities, to be held at a Mexican university, probably in 2010. One of the purposes of the conference would be to mutually build strength by sharing experiences between ANAI and Mexican practicioners, but an equally important purpose would be to invite participation by government, academic and NGO personnel from throughout the region, using ANAI’s contacts. We have foreseen major planning for this event to take place during 2009, but the current economic situation engenders some doubt. Clearly, ANAI cannot actively pursue this initiative unless it is at least a break‐even proposition. The first activity during 2009, then, will be to discuss and begin to approach possible funding sources. A one page concept paper is presently under preparation.
Scientific investigations in Greater Talamanca: Mention has been made above (under Related Events) of the scientific opportunity present in the aftermath of the destructive floods of 2008 in Talamanca and Bocas del Toro. It is probable that never before in history has such ecosystem‐altering flooding ocurred in a region with extensive preexisting biomonitoring data. The possibility thus exists to turn adversity to advantage by pursuing the scientific research avenues suggested by recent events. In addition to the value of research results, in their own right and for the light they will shed on our biomonitoring practices and conclusions, this can be seen as a funding opportunity, for ANAI but also for the rural communities of Talamanca, many of which are already set up to receive ecotourist visitors. However, while ANAI can certainly participate in and provide logistic and technical support for such reasearch, we cannot play a primary role. This is partly because we are already stretched too thin, but also because it would be contrary to our mission. ANAI, including the Biomonitoring Program, exists primarily to assist the local people in achieving sustainable development goals while protecting their own resources, including aquatic biodiversity. But there would seem to be a role for ANAI in attracting and assisting scientific investigators (and promoting the involvement of Costa Rican, Panamanian or other Latino students in the research). Properly managed, this could contribute to the economic wellbeing of both ANAI and local communities. Written inquiries have already been circulated to academics with known interest in the types of questions suggested by recent events in Greater Talamanca. Several enthusiastic replies have been received, and we are actively pursuing possibilities.
11. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Funding for core activities of the Biomonitoring Program was provided by: • Dorothy‐Ann Foundation • J.M. Kaplan Fund (discretionary funds from Executive Director Conn Nugent) • Center for Ecosystem Survival (through the Ecological Parking Meter at the National Aquarium in Baltimore) Financial support for development and testing of an aquatic component for the APPTA certification program was realized thanks to an initiative by consultant (and former ANAI Biomonitoring staffer) Julio Barquero. Funding for his consultancy, and consequently our part of the work, came through a program originating in IUCN and administered by Juan Carlos Barrantes through Alianza Bocas and the Talamanca/Caribbean Biological Corridor Federation. Most of the same entities and individuals were involved in providing funds for additional training for Panamanian parataxonomists Marcio Bonilla and Hugo Sanchez. In this process, Felix Sanchez of Fundacion Naso played a key role. Participation by the Biomonitoring Team in the two leadership workshops was made possible by EcoAgriculture Partners, The Development Fund (Norway), Rhode Island Sea Grant and Colorado Community Church (pastor Hugo Venegas). Dr. McLarney’s October trip to Washington was made possible through the support of the National Aquarium Institute and the Little Tennessee Watershed Association. Special thanks go to two individuals who, while not directly involved as funders of the Biomonitoring Program, have repeatedly gone beyond the call of duty in facilitating our efforts: • Glenn Page of Ecologix Group has endeavored ceaselessly to serve a liaison function for ANAI, and within ANAI the Biomonitoring Program, by creating and maintaining contacts with multiple foundations, government agencies, academic institutions, etc. • Randy Curtis of The Nature Conservancy has been an invaluable advocate for the Biomonitoring Program, and the concept of stream biomonitoring in the Neotropics, facilitating contacts with funders, but also opening the door to multiple exchanges of information and ideas. A number of other individuals in administrative positions have made extra effort to facilitate our work, including: • Edwin Cyrus director of ACLAC (the division of MINAET responsible for the Atlantic slope/La Amistad region) and Earl Junier of the same office deserve recognition for their early recognition of the relevance of stream biomonitoring in
conservation. Both continue to promote collaboration between their agency and ANAI.
Ricardo Montenegro of The Nature Conservancy’s Panama office, who has been both perceptive and dynamic in promoting the importance of the aquatic component in the ongoing effort to document and monitor biodiversity in PILA.
Jenny Sanders, Executive Director of the Little Tennessee Watershed Association who, in addition to helping arrange Dr. McLarney’s Washington trip has on multiple occasions allowed her office to be used as an extension of ANAI, Inc’s unstaffed and underequipped U.S. office
APPTA, as an organization, from the field staff to the directors, deserves our gratitude for constantly being alert for possibilities to integrate our efforts to the benefit of Talamanca – the latest instance being their hiring Julio Barquero to negotiate our participation in the process of developing new, biodiversity‐based, farm certification criteria. Another organization which deserves credit for collaboration over the years is STIBRAWPA (the womens’ development group in Yorkin). In addition to playing a catalytic role in the development of the Yorkin Community Biomonitoring Group, they have regularly collaborated with the Biomonitoring Program and other parts of ANAI to make food, lodging, transport and other services available to us at reduced cost. The Biomonitoring Program, along with all of ANAI is especially grateful to volunteer Autumn Woodward, ACTUAR, Alaine Berg and the staff of ATEC in Puerto Viejo, and an unknown number of other volunteers and donors for their help in trying to get STIBRAWPA and the village of Yorkin back on their feet. Collecting permits for our work in Costa Rica were facilitated, as usual, by Earl Junier of the MINAET office in Limon. The boards of ADITIBRI and ADITICA extended similar permission for our work in the Talamanca Bribri and Talamanca Cabecar Indigenous Reserves. The staff of the Finca Educativa (Educational Farm) in Shiroles have consistently gone out of their way to facilitate activities such as ANAI workshops and our training courses for APPTA inspectors. Our effective participation in activities around the UNESCO Mission visit would not have been possible without cooperation on multiple levels. In the weeks prior to the visit we were in constant communication with Mission members Alberto Salas and Jim Barborak. The third member, Marc Patry, in addition to his duties related to the Mission, found time to help us build contacts with the UN World Heritage Program. During this time our liaisons re activities in Panama were Osvaldo Jordan of Asociacion para Conservacion y Desarrollo, Felix Sanchez of the Fundacion Naso and Linda Barrera and Jason Gray of the Center for Biodiversity Conservation. Thanks also go to Alianza Bocas, whose office served as the center of activities during our days in Changuinola.
In Panama, Naso parataxonomists Hugo Sanchez and Marcio Bonilla deserve special commendation. Since we first got to know them as students in a workshop in 2004, they have demonstrated 100% commitment to the conservation cause, in spite of economic and physical hardships. Their participation is particularly noteworthy for their dedication not only to doing their own work, but to spreading biodiversity conservation concepts and information at all levels of society. Chris Lorion of the University of Idaho, who did his thesis research on fresh water ecosystems of Talamanca during 2005‐2006, kindly made all his data available to us. This has greatly enriched our understanding of these systems, as well as contributing directly to the species distribution maps which will form an important part of our Freshwater Fishes of Talamanca monograph. We constantly request and receive technical assistance from two members of the University of Costa Rica faculty – Monika Springer (benthic macroinvertebrates) and Bill Bussing (fish). During 2008 we also benefitted greatly from written exchanges with John Lyons (U. of Wisconsin), drawing on his extensive experience biomonitoring in the rivers of Mexico. In the section on Staff and Volunteers above we have acknowledged the critical importance of community volunteers in carrying out our work. Here we will add an additional thank you to Matias Diaz, Director of the regional high school in the Estrella Valley for facilitating the participation of his students. Thanks again to 2008 Biomonitoring Staff Volunteers Claudia Cheng, Gregory Gueble, David Garcia, Patricia Gonzalez, Sharon Gulick and Teresa Rosello, each of whom made unique contributions, only some of which are described in this report. The last word of appreciation is reserved for the administration and office staff of Asociacion ANAI, without whom none of the work reported here would be possible.
Appendice A. Table 1. Talamanca Biomonitoring Results – 2008. Watershed
Site R. Niney/San Rafael Q. Kitadikur above the mouth R. Duruy/Duruy R. Bitey/Bocuare R. Bocuare/Bocuare R. Ley channelized reach R. Ley upstream of the bananera R. Jabuy in the Vesta bananera
62 107 63 108 97 80 73 77
5.4 6.9 8.1 6.7 8.2 4.6 7.8 6.1
Previous Bioclass w. year 2005 2002 2001** 2007 2007 2002 2002 2001
47 41 47 41 47 43
Trend* Decline Decline ? Stable Stable Stable Stable Stable
Hotel Cr/ Kekoldi
32 117 69 115 70 88
6.2 9.2 5.9 5.8 8.9 8.5
2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2003
Stable Stable Stable Stable Stable Stable
68 98 120 96 91 115
8.2 8.5 8.0 9.2 8.9 8.4
2003 New site 2007 2007 2004 2003
Stable New site Stable Stable Improve Stable
R. Patino below Patino Q. Pedro in forest Q. Carbon/Carbon Uno Q. Pijao/Finca Pijao-Carbon Uno Q. Cana Jira/Carbon Dos Q. Buena Vista below Buena Vista
R. Sandbox below falls
51 31 36 55 50
R. Carbon/entrance Buena Vista
R. Shuabb/Shuabb school R. Shuabb above Q. Sisi R. Bris above mouth R. Tscui/Yorkin R. Dacle above mouth R. Yorkin above mouth R. Brai Q. Karbri/Amubri
Hotel Cr. below Pto. Viejo Rd.
R. Watsi/Chase Bridge
52 32 52 54 50 60 52 36 46
Q. Cocolito above Suretka
R. Shiroles entrance to Sibuju
* "Unstable" sites show unpredictable oscillations in biotic indices over years, often preliminary to a decline ** Monitored in 2001, but results are not credible, due to technical problems Color coding Excellent
Shifting substrate, increase in trash Shifting substrate, increase in trash
Rechannelization, shifting substrate Sedimentation, channel instability
Less agrochemical input Recovery from landlides Sedimentation Poor
Appendice C. Field data sheet and instructions for assessment of the aquatic component on organic farms of APPTA associates.
The year 2008 produced important advances in the effectiveness of the ANAI Stream Biomonitoring Program, most notably in the educational and...