RECLA Rotary E Club of Lake Atitlan


Intensive Tul Proposal

Rotary Member John Edward Van Lente is proposing an agressive Tul Reforestation Program, entitled “Natural Interventions to Revitalize the Biodiversity of Lake Atitlan Guatemala.”

The proposal states that remediation will start on November 15, 2017 and be completed by September 15, 2018.  In that time period, approximately 7,242 square meters of tul reeds (over 144,000 plants) will be replanted after being harvested from other sites.  Some of these new sites will be strategically located to intercept current contaminated entry sites to the lake such as Rio San Francisco in Panajachel.

For more definitive information or for specific ways to help fund this project through the Rotary E Club of Lake Atitlan, please contact John Van Lente ([email protected]) who will be responsible for Grant Application and Accountability to the District and Rotary International using all required forms for reports as outlined in the RI District Grant rules.  Rotary is looking for more volunteers to assist with the project, as well as for more tul planing locations, and the work will begin as soon as donations are received.

Tul is a local plant which is especially important for the health of the lake.  The cyanobacteria blooms of recent years are mainly caused by excess input of nutrients, and the presence of  tul (Tule, Schoenoplectus or Scirpus) provides rapid uptake of nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, while creating the surface area that attracts microorganisms in the water that create a cleaning biofilm.

The amount of tul, formerly abundant around the shore of Lake Atitlan, has been severely diminished due to the sudden rising of water level over the past few years, as well as from the lack of education among the population around the lake on its importance and responsible harvesting.  The immediate need for remediation and replanting of tul around the lake is critical to the health of Lake Atitlan.

The benefits of tul:

* It is a natural filter for pollutants running from the shore.

* It controls the cyanobacteriael bloom, since it is a natural competitor for the consumption of phosphorus and nitrogen.

* It is the habitat for animal species (fish, crustaceans and mollusks, migratory birds) and of economic importance to human populations and the ecosystem of the lake.  It is a source of raw materials for various crafts of the area.

Aggressive restoration of the natural tul base lost during a recent rapid water elevation period will reduce the demand for more costly solutions and therefore should be a first step. This proposal in no way offsets the other centralized waste management systems already planned that are essential to reduce the input of damaging wastes.

Local Rotarians and an existing small army of volunteers have previously worked with the Guatemalan National Environmental Protection Agency and the Local Atitlan Basin Environmental group.  RECLA has 20 active members. 5 are dedicated to clean lake projects in organizational and activist capacity and others as support persons.

Importantly, AMSCLAE, the local Atitlan Basin Group, possesses the staff, boats, knowledge, and government approval sufficient to utilize an influx of capital required for this project. The demand is also met by the parent governmental group CONAP who provide staff, expertise, and boats.

Other partners include several area schools, Interact, Rotaract Clubs, and associates from Rotary Clubs internationally who have supported our local missions.  This coalition has demonstrated effective cooperation in four pilot sites. The pilot projects provided the data for the cost analysis.

The projected cost projections include boat rental, gas for boats, hiring Tuleros (local workers in the area), ground/boat transportation for volunteers, rocks, binding twine, hydration/refreshments for workers, and legal/permit expenses is $27,592.00.

The AMSCLAE tul director will meet with lake and village fishermen to enlist their support for monitoring the tul plots. The director will also meet with tuleros who will continue to harvest and thin the plants. They will sell the plants to the artisans around the lake who produce locally-used as well as easily-exported products. This additional economic impact provides the income to sustain harvesting and thinning of congested plots.

Rotary Targeted Areas of Emphasis:

  1. Environmental impact and clean water.
  2. Public Health.
  3. Economic Impact
  4. Area student educational impact


Post your comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>