A helicopter brings in supplies for the expedition.
AquaRAP is made possible by the Rufford Foundation and the Smart Family Foundation
WHAT: Aquatic Rapid Assessment Program (AquaRAP) in Venezuela
Scientists will conduct rapid biological surveys of aquatic organisms, including fishes, invertebrates and plants, and will also evaluate water quality and geomorphology of the Caura River Basin in Venezuela. AquaRAP differs from other biological assessments in that information about the different taxonomic groups is collected in one place at the same time in order to draw conclusions about the ecology of the area. This biological data will be integrated with information about how local people use aquatic resources in order to paint a more complete picture of the region and its conservation needs.
LEARN MORE: Read dispatches from the field.
WHERE: The Caura River Basin, Venezuela, South America
A river system with treacherous rapids and dense forest-cover, the Caura River Basin has remained virtually unaffected by commercial or agricultural development by virtue of its inaccessability. The Basin is one of the most pristine watersheds in South America, but faces a variety of threats including a water diversion project which would support a hydroelectric dam to sell electricity to Brazil. There is also potential encroachment from gold and silver miners in the south and the agricultural frontier advancing from the north. Scientists hope their findings will provide information critical to determine how best to protect the Caura and the biodiversity of the river system. >> View maps and data.
WHEN: November 20-December 12, 2000
The dry season is from November to May, and by the time the expedition gets underway, water levels should have recovered from the significant flooding that struck Caracas in December 1999.
WHO: International Team of Scientists
November 25-December 1: Entrerìos
December 2-4: Pie de salto
December 5-8: Dedemai
December 9-12: Camp Kueke
This expedition will be one of the most rugged AquaRAP expeditions yet, but the team's scientists from Venezuela, the United States and Brazil are prepared for the challenge. The scientists specialize in the fields of plants (aquatic and terrestrial), fishes, crustaceans, invertebrates, and freshwater ecosystems. >> Meet the team.
WHY: Objectives of the Caura Expedition
- To increase understanding of the biological importance and uniqueness of the Caura River Basin among local and national governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multilateral agencies, and communities in order to protect it.
- To create awareness about the adverse effects of a possible water diversion project, which would alter the course of water between the Caura and Caroní basins.
- To foster cooperation between local communities and scientists and develop environmental education programs for local schools.
- To promote indigenous communities' willing participation in conservation while recognizing their intellectual property rights in accordance with Venezuela's constitution.
IN DEPTH: Learn more about the expedition.