Pablo Busch with Chile Lagos Limpios
In the North-Patagonian region of Chile there are 23 lakes in an almost pristine condition. These lakes provide multiple environmental and economic benefits, like ecosystem services and tourism attraction. In the upcoming years major population migrations, economic and infrastructure development is expected in the zone. An uncontrolled development could potentially drive the lake's natural condition down to an unrecoverable pollution path. During the past academic year I have been working with Chile Lagos Limpios, an NGO that promotes the protection of these lakes via science-based decisions and community engagement, while promoting the long-term socioeconomic development of the region.
As part of my practicum I have researched and summarized the main lessons from the policy history of Lake Tahoe environmental protection. I have also identified all relevant data that could be useful to better understand the current situation of the region, like population clusters, economic development, urbanization rate, main industries activities and location, among others. Based on a data-based description of the zone along with the main learnings from Lake Tahoe experience, I proposed eight specific and actionable recommendations to further protect the North-Patagonian lakes: (1) Set specific, measurable and outcome-based goals; (2) Generate a stratified strategy for the 23 lakes; (3) Establish a monitoring strategy in every lake; (4) Set appropriate legislature to ensure the water quality of the lakes; (5) Promote a public-private scientific alliance to study the long-term projection of climate change impacts on the zone; (6) Build community engagement programs; (7) Aim to balance economic development with environmental protection in the long term; and (8) Conduct environmental education programs.