Cahoacan II Work Begins in the El Tizate Microwatershed

19 September 2012 | News story

IUCN, with sponsorship from Fundación Gonzalo Río Arronte I.A.P. and support from Sociedad de Historia Natural del Soconusco, begins work to mitigate effects of severe rainstorms in strategic microwatersheds

Chiapas, Mexico, June 28, 2012 (IUCN). Now in phase II, the Cahoacán Project aims to reduce the vulnerability of watershed inhabitants, build capacity to adapt to changes, and improve abilities to mitigate damages from hydrometeorological phenomenon. This will be accomplished by strengthening local adaptive capacity (at the community-ejido, municipal and basin level) and improving livelihoods. Actions include protection of natural forests such as lowland jungle, mesophile forest, and pine-oak forest; improvement of shade coffee agroforestry systems (environmental services); soil and water conservation works and practices; reforestation; solid waste management; monitoring of water quality and strengthening of organizational structures with the watershed approach.

The Tizate microwatershed is located in the mid-basin of the Cahoacán River at coordinates 15º 01´14.02´´ and 14º 56´14.47´´ north latitude and 92º 11´24.06´´ and 92º 11´56.35´´ west longitude. Its population of 3,937 live in the ejidos of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Manuel Lazos and Segunda Sección de Cahuá, in the municipalities of Tapachula and Tuxtla Chico, State of Chiapas. The Tizate River arises at an altitude of 584 m above sea level in Ejido Felipe Carrillo Puerto, running 10.2 km before it empties into the Cahuá River.

To address the extreme vulnerability of the Cahoacán river basin, soil and water conservation works and practices have been initiated on 725.66 ha in the microwatershed of the Tizate River, specifically in Ejido Felipe Carrillo Puerto.

Before beginning, project technicians made a careful selection of priority areas in the Tizate microwatershed, and then provided training for 20 farmers in Ejido Manuel Lazos. The training included technical and practical aspects to give participants a clear understanding of the objectives and benefits, with definitions and measurements provided for each work and practice, depending on the slope of the land to be protected. Beneficiaries also learned how to prepare simple instruments for making contour lines, such as the easel.

The first works included trenches on hillsides currently planted with coffee. These activities are designed to consolidate, foster, and expand the planning and management capacities of local stakeholders to restore, conserve and protect strategic microwatersheds, and thus reduce risks from severe rainstorms in the Cahoacán river basin.

Miguel Ángel Hernández, a farmer in the Tizate microwatershed, said, “The works and practices we’ve been taught to implement on our land are very good for conserving soil and keeping it from ending up in the Tizate River. They’ll be especially useful for holding moisture during the heat of the dry season, which coffee plants don’t like so harvests are really poor. Definitely, this is a good measure that will also help give us better harvests.”

Such actions to conserve soil and water are also being implemented in other strategic microwatersheds of the Cahoacán II project in Chiapas, Mexico.

For more information contact:

Carlos R. Rosal Del Cid
Regional Officer
Livelihoods and Climate Change Unit
IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica and Caribbean Initiative
Tel: 00502-5966-6957 and 00502-5918-0317