19. Environmental assessment: the valles altos project in Bolivia.
Publ. of DESFIL, Washington, D.C. 20001, USA, 1988, 28 pp.
The AID Andean Regional Environmental Adviser determined that the planned Chapare Regional Development Project Amendment for the Valles Altos region in the department of Cochabamba, Bolivia, required an environmental assessment (EA) before implementation of the project.
The need for an EA was determined by the fragile balance of the natural and agricultural ecosystem in this arid zone near Cochabamba and by the degraded nature of parts of the region. The area shows extensive over-grazing, steep and often eroded slopes and severely salinized soils in some parts.
As a result of the study, it was decided to amend the project paper and to expand the geographical focus of project activities to the Valles Altos region of the department of Chochabamba. This will be done to help encourage a large number of Chapare farmers and laborers who, having migrated to the Chapare from the Valles Altos in large numbers during the last several years, are now returning to their places of origin.
It is hoped that these farmers will forsake their involvement in coca production and processing as control activities proceed. The effort will be a large-scale test of a model of integrated investments to improve the social and economic development potential of selected areas of origin, to accelerate return migration, and to increase retention of the existing populations. If successful, the funding of a much larger effort to expand the impact of these activities to more areas will be considered.
For strategic and practical purposes, the implementation of the environmental/resource management strategy involves immediate activities, pre-investment studies, and technical assistance.
Essential preliminary activities are the relatively detailed land capability assessment and the hydrological studies needed before investments are made in irrigation systems.
The environmental strategy consists of the following major components:
- Early collection of baseline data on those resources and systems that are essential to planning, or that may be altered by project activities. Examples of these data types are water quality, flow rates, and sediment loads for potable water and irrigation activities; land-use capability assessments for potential agricultural and natural resources protection activities; floristic, faunistic, and habitat distribution data for activities required to protect or restore endangered or critical ecosystem components.
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