About us

About Us

About Us

Who We Are

Located in the town of Futaleufú in Chilean Patagonia, Futaleufú Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of the watershed of the Futaleufú River and its communities. We are a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international network of water defenders who work to protect clean water around the world.

Our team is made up of river lovers from around Chile and the world, who respect the diverse ecosystems of our planet and recognize the importance of protecting them. We firmly believe in a world where people and communities have agency over decisions that will affect their watershed, their homes, and their lives.


We monitor the watershed and identify emerging threats to water and ecosystem health, then take action to combat these threats through policy work and community initiatives. We provide quantitative and qualitative information to strengthen and promote public policies that protect the rights of rivers and communities.



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The Watershed

The Futaleufú River

The Futaleufú River flows westward across the Andes from its source in Los Alerces National Park in Argentina to its drainage into Yelcho Lake, which in turn flows into the Pacific Ocean as the Yelcho River. Futaleufú means “Big River” in Mapudungun, the language of the Mapuche people, and the river lives up to its name: its binational watershed encompasses over 11,600 square kilometers.

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History of Riverkeeper

  • 2012

    Futaleufú Riverkeeper is created in opposition to the construction of three dams on the Futaleufú and Espolón rivers, by the Energy Company ENDESA (now ENEL).
  • 2013-2015

    Riverkeeper focuses its work on the “Futaleufú without dams” campaign; in energy policy and in the sustainable development of Futaleufú.
  • 2016

    ENDESA returns the Water Rights to the State. Riverkeeper Foundation installs the Zone of Touristic Interest ZOIT, which is centered on the Futaleufú River.
  • 2017-2019

    After Endesa relinquishes its water rights back to the State, Riverkeeper reorients its work plan to permanent conservation initiatives in the watershed.

Our Team

ROCIO GONZALEZ SALDIVIA

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Originally from Puerto Montt, Rocio has called Futaleufú home since 2013 and has served as executive director of Riverkeeper since 2016. With Riverkeeper, she has worked on the Futaleufú Sin Represas campaign that resulted in ENDESA's renunciation of its water rights on the Futaleufú River, started the first community-based Water Monitoring Program in the area, and developed various community initiatives to protect the natural and cultural heritage of Patagonia.

LYDIA BLANCHET

WATER MONITORING PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Born and raised in Alaska, Lydia joined the Riverkeeper team in 2019 to spearhead the community-based water quality monitoring program. A hydrologist and whitewater kayaker, Lydia loves studying, playing in, and working to protect clean water.

RAIMUNDO VIVES

GEOGRAPHER

Raimundo Vives is a geographer by profession. He joined the Futaleufú Riverkeeper team to develop a project for the recovery, enhancement and protection of community access points to rivers and lakes in the commune of Futaleufú, and to promote the sustainable development of cultural, recreational, athletic and educational activities.

DANIEL ARAVENA

FINANCIAL AND HUMAN RESOURCES ADVISOR

Born in Santiago and living there to this day, Daniel has always felt that the south of Chile will be his future home. For this reason, he has contributed his expertise to various organizations that focus on protecting the environment and cultural heritage of Chilean Patagonia.
His experience in finance and tax law, coupled with his passion for the environment and traditional culture, have allowed him to take part in numerous projects, most notably: the restoration of the culture of artisan weavers with Fundación Patagonia Sur, the reforestation of Torres del Paine with Reforestemos Patagonia, and as a part of Futaleufú Riverkeeper since its inception.

 

ROCIO GONZALEZ SALDIVIA

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Originally from Puerto Montt, Rocio has called Futaleufú home since 2013 and has served as executive director of Riverkeeper since 2016. With Riverkeeper, she has worked on the Futaleufú Sin Represas campaign that resulted in ENDESA's renunciation of its water rights on the Futaleufú River, started the first community-based Water Monitoring Program in the area, and developed various community initiatives to protect the natural and cultural heritage of Patagonia.


LYDIA BLANCHET

WATER MONITORING PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Born and raised in Alaska, Lydia joined the Riverkeeper team in 2019 to spearhead the community-based water quality monitoring program. A hydrologist and whitewater kayaker, Lydia loves studying, playing in, and working to protect clean water.


PAULO URRUTIA BARCELO

COMMUNICATIONS

Born in Puerto Montt, Paulo is a geologist by profession and a kayaker at heart. His love for rivers and water has led him to dedicate his last 10 years to protecting free-flowing rivers in Chile. As the founder of Geoturismo Chile and Bestias del Sur Salvaje, he has managed to link science, tourism and environmental education with a focus on socio-environmental movements.


RAIMUNDO VIVES

GEOGRAPHER

Raimundo Vives is a geographer by profession. He joined the Futaleufú Riverkeeper team to develop a project for the recovery, enhancement and protection of community access points to rivers and lakes in the commune of Futaleufú, and to promote the sustainable development of cultural, recreational, athletic and educational activities.


DANIEL ARAVENA

FINANCIAL AND HUMAN RESOURCES ADVISOR

[BIO HERE]


Our Volunteers


Slide futaleufu riverkeeper volunteer “As a student of Civil Engineering in Energy and Environment, I am part of the Futakeeper technical team working with the municipality to develop a Local Energy Strategy (EEL) for Futaleufú. An EEL is an instrument that serves as a foundation for Futaleufú’s transition towards a sustainable and low-carbon development future through local action. My work includes quantifying the current energy use in the commune, investigating the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and putting on community workshops.” Benjamín Cortés-Monroy CIVIL ENGINEER | LOCAL ENERGY DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY Slide volunteers of futaleufu riverkeeper “I’m Macarena Robles, an Agronomy student with a minor in Environmental Management. I work on the Riverkeeper public water access project, carrying out an inventory of the biodiversity of three riparian ecosystems. My goal is to gather information for to create educational material rel the basin and its ecosystems." Macarena Robles AGRONOMIST | PUBLIC WATER ACCESS AND EDUCATION Slide "I’m from Viña del Mar and am doing my professional internship with Riverkeeper, working on a project that consists of gathering information with the objective of declaring the Laguna Espejo as an urban wetland. This is very important for the commune of Futaleufú because it is an essential ecosystem that provides many benefits to the community, including the conservation of biodiversity, groundwater recharge, provision of fresh water and mitigation of the effects of climate change." Estefany Pacheco Yáñez | WETLANDS CONSERVATION

JOIN OUR TEAM!

Become a Riverkeeper Volunteer or Student Intern

We can work together to find a project in your area of expertise that contributes to the protection and conservation of the Futaleufú watershed.


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Our Board

Scott Mckay

President


BIO
"Patagonia, for me, exists at the intersection of nature's power and the human spirit. And if I could pick one place on Earth to return as a child, I would pick the Futaleufú River. Each time I visit, it reignites the energy, enchantment, inquisitiveness and awe of my youth. Every person should get that experience. My mission now is to make sure future generations get to reignite their youthful spirit on the Futaleufú River."

Nicole Ellena

Secretary


BIO
"Human pressure over land-use is taking a toll on the composition and chemistry of our Earth, as we are now living in a new geological era titled the Anthropocene. As the name suggests, there are still a few places in this planet that are still left untouched, or relatively “pristine”, and Futaleufú and its surrounding areas is one of them. All of my efforts shall be placed to protecting the last wild places that remain, and Patagonia is my personal priority”.

Patrick Lynch

Treasurer


BIO
“Living and working in Futaleufú taught me to think deeply about what it means to have a sense of place. We all grow up somewhere. We all have a home, whether we like it or not. We all have values we end up caring about. How we choose to defend our home and our values is a big part of what defines us. The people in Futaleufú— people I’ve been lucky to work with— are choosing to fight. They are creating their own future, in the face of so many threats. Futaleufú is a wild and free town, fighting on the banks of a wild and free river. I’m motivated to support FutaRiverkeeper because it’s the best way I know to stand up for the values and the places I’ve come to love.”

Trish Rogers

Director


BIO
“Rivers are an integral part of our finely balanced ecosystem. The Futaleufú river and its surrounding lands are some of the most powerful, beautiful and relatively untouched parts of earth’s ecosystem, and following my first visit to Patagonia, I knew I wanted to do everything I could to keep it that way. Patagonia, and the Futa, need to be left as nature (and not man) intended them to be, which is what motivates me to keep fighting for the Fu”.

Alliances

Alliances with other organizations are fundamental to our work. We seek to cultivate these relationships across all of our core programs and from the local to the international level: from water monitoring and educational initiatives, to strategic alliances for sustainable development, to alliances for scientific research and for conservation-- because we are stronger together!

National Alliances

ngenko
Ngenko Foundation
geotur
Geoturismo Chile