Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today was the last day for both boats to explore Lago de Atitlan. The smaller boat continued its near-shore survey and collected samples of the water plants around the perimeter of the lake. The larger boat finished a transect of the lake to collect water samples, with a focus on invertebrates.

The chemistry group is working really hard to keep up with the many samples that are brought to them each day.

We hosted another community workshop this afternoon in our ‘home town’ of Panajatchel. This is one of the larger communities around the lake, so its management practices could be important for setting an example for other communities. Attendance was great, including media representatives who conducted video interviews of many people participating in the expedition.

Each person interviewed had the opportunity to share his or her view of Lago de Atitlan. Uniformly, interviewees stated that 1) the “sickness” of Lago de Atitlan is at an early stage and changes can happen to keep it healthy, 2) long term monitoring will be critical to fully understand the lake so information-based decisions can be made, and 3) coordination of everyone who impacts the lake is necessary.

Photos: Sudeep Chandra (University of Nevada, Reno), Charles Goldman (UC Davis), Eliska Rejmankova (UC Davis), and student Hugo Villavicenio giving interviews. Interviewer: Ivan Azurdia.

Nancy Giron made a presentation that described the concept of a watershed, discussed specific challenges facing Lago de Atitlan, and encouraged attendees to recognize their role in keeping their lake healthy.

Photos: workshop

Great questions were asked during the question and answer session, including, “Can we put chlorine into the lake to kill the cyanobacteria?” (answer: no, the lake is too big for any chemical treatments) and “Do mechanical aerators work?” (answer: no, aerators work in much smaller water bodies, this lake is much too large).

Photo: Margaret Dix answering a question, Nancy Giron at left

Photo: community member asking a question

Refreshments were provided after the workshop, and many conversations continued.

Photos: informal discussions by all after the presentation