The Belize River Valley is one of the great natural resources with which Belize is blessed. It is a major tributary to the Caribbean sea which feeds the major ecosystem which is the longest living barrier reef in the world, The Great Belize Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Site. The river and its many streams brings silt to create one of the more fertile valleys in the region, once determined by the ODA (UK based Overseas Development Agency) to have the potential to be the breadbasket of the Caribbean. The river is relatively clean and sustains a large variety of flora and fauna. While the river is very healthy for the most part, there has been spurts of cholera in various places and at various times. There has been some degree of deforestation which defies existing laws that require a 66 foot space be preserved from the river banks. This has lead to some erosion at various spots, and as these lands are mostly used for agricultural purposes, there has been some leaching of fertilizers and agrochemicals into the waterway. The degree or extent of the impact of these are not well known or documented.
The project may well evolve into the center of knowledge on the Belize Old River regarding tourism product development of the resource. While conservation activity will be carried out, coordinated and supported by the organization, there will be a focus on data and information systems building. It is envisioned that out of the project will evolve practical tools which can be used to develop the tourism product, such as a ‘Booklets on Avian Species of the Belize River Valley’, and ‘Guide to Pieces of the Belize Old River’, and ‘Wildlife on the Belize Old River’, ‘Flora of the Belize River Valley’, etc. etc. Representatives of the project may well become the consultants for training of tour guides who will be licensed operate tours on the river. The project will seek to attract partners who will carry on ongoing studies related to hydrology, water quality, soil types, erosion, agricultural/industrial activity and impact, as well as other data which will be important in managing the natural resource in a sustainable manner.
This important section of the project will be coordinated by Roberto Harrison of BELTRADE, and Omar Figueroa of Birds Without Borders. Send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.