Los Picachos, A Protected Natural Area
By Sandra Ríos
On Friday, August 22, the Instituto de Ecología (Institute of Ecology) convened its first meeting at El Charco del Ingenio to discuss obtaining the designation as a protected natural area for Los Picachos volcano and La Presa Ignacio Allende. The group included citizens, NGOs, and government and non-government organizations. They discussed the feasibility of such a declaration and generated diagnoses of social, environmental, cultural, and economic issues that are incumbent on these areas.
The results of these workshops will be available in October for public discussion and consensus, which will take from six months to a year. Then the government will determine if the declaration is feasible.
Los Picachos, located south of San Miguel de Allende, make up an important natural area—in terms of biodiversity and geographical and geological history and provide environmental services, such as water harvesting. This area is covered by scrub and grassland in its lower parts, forests in its glens, and extensive oaks in its higher elevations. Its forests and soils retain moisture and give sustenance to a rich variety of flora and fauna. What the meeting is proposing is that, if the ecosystem is preserved, the chances of floods will decrease, prolonging the life of Presa Allende. If the ecosystem continues to deteriorate, the likelihood of a hydrological risk will increase, diminishing functionality of the dam and altering the micro-climate of the surrounding cities. Protected natural areas are those areas in which safeguards for natural, cultural, or historical values have been legally established. They are administered by a variety of authorities and organizations.