The Green Ring of Lake Chapala, and the new protected area. The Green Ring of Lake Chapala, and the new protected area.

New protected area proposed for Chapala

18,000 hectares would be added to the lake's "green ring"

More of the tropical dry forests that surround Lake Chapala have been proposed for protected area designation.

The Jalisco Secretariat of Environment and Territorial Development (Semadet) yesterday presented a proposal for the creation of a new 18,000-hectare natural protected area (ANP) for the tropical dry forests that surround Lake Chapala.

“The proposed natural protected area is an important part of the Lerma-Chapala watershed, and if approved it would favor the recharge of underground aquifers and of Lake Chapala, benefiting the many human settlements and the various productive activities in the area,” said Semadet chief Magdalena Ruiz Mejía.

The comprehensive management plan for the proposed protected area also includes the conservation of rivers, springs and underground water reservoirs, the protection of forested areas and prairies, and the continuation of economic activities that are compatible with those efforts.

The new area would be part of a broader project known as Green Ring of Lake Chapala (Anillo Verde del Lago de Chapala), designed to offer legal certainty and to establish public policies geared toward the preservation of the ecosystems and biodiversity of the upper watershed of the lake.

The new protected area takes in the Sierra Cóndiro-Canales, located in the municipalities of La Barca, Atotonilco El Alto and Ocotlán, and the Cerro San Miguel Chiquihuitillo, found in Chapala, Ixtlahuacán and Poncitlán. The area totals 18,000 hectares.

The document presented by Semadet also stated that Lake Chapala and its hydrological system is not only a priority resource for the immediate surrounding region, but also for almost 5 million people who depend on the lake’s water.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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