The community of Futaleufú is growing, and with it are concerns about unsustainable development, proper management, government oversight, and making sure that growth improves rather than restricts opportunities for locals. One of the primary reasons Futaleufú is considered a premier global destination is the beauty of its natural surroundings. If done in the right way, increased infrastructure can raise the quality of life for people living in the region. But this means monitoring development projects and educating people about the long-term benefits of smart planning. Without dedicated and informed community involvement in planning for a sustainable future, the Futaleufú watershed’s greatest asset – its many rivers, fishing spots, biodiversity hotspots, and trekking routes – will be lost.
The Futaleufú Riverkeeper aims to be the point of contact between members of these impacted communities, developers, and the various committees and agencies charged with approving or rejecting new projects. We monitor and evaluate new project proposals, inform the public about risks to human health and the environment, and engage the community to challenge projects that will negatively impact the watershed and contribute to unsustainable development.
Riverkeeper funds will be targeted at modifying or halting high-risk projects at the earliest possible stages, as well as making formal objections to the agencies or through the courts should the requests of the community be ignored. A more transparent regulatory process – in which the actors and proponents of development activities and their intents are known to the communities – is key to protecting the Futaleufú watershed and ensuring that the people of the region can assert their rights to sustainable growth and a healthy environment.