The Municipal Conservation and Sustainable Use Area of Portovelo was established by its Municipal Government on September 30, 2022. This area is part of the Fierro Urco Water Protection Area and is located at the head of the Puyango River Basin. The area was approved through the Protection and Restoration of Water Sources, Fragile Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Environmental Services of Portovelo ordinance. It promotes the management of municipal conservation areas and sustainable use that protect 29,305 acres of territory.
The Portovelo Municipal Protected Area conserves páramo grasslands where important rivers such as the Guayabal, Santiago, Tenta, Ambocas, and San Luis are born. The area, therefore, protects and conserves the water sources for the consumption of approximately 13 thousand inhabitants, distributed in three rural parishes: Morales, Curtincapac, and Salatí; and Portovelo, an urban parish.
A major objective in the creation of this area is to initiate strategic work to minimize threats in the reserve and the region, such as deforestation by livestock, agriculture, vegetation burns, and mining concessions. Luís López, Nature and Culture International Project Technician, says that there is a feeling of urgency in the Municipal Government of Portovelo. The hope is to protect and manage the conservation area so that the mining concessions in the area can be faced. These concessions put the water sources of this biodiverse area at risk.
The establishment of this new area in Portovelo together with the Zaruma, Atahualpa, and Piñas protected areas form an ecosystem and biodiverse connectivity corridor in the Puyango river basin. These areas combined cover 154,517 acres of forests, páramos, water sources, and endemic species, including the endangered blue-throated hillstar hummingbird (Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus).
This declaration is an inter-institutional achievement that began in 2019, after directing permanent coordination between the Municipal Government of Portovelo and the support and advice of Nature and Culture International. As a result of this joint work, the area of conservation, construction of the ordinance, and socialization with the Municipal Council, was delineated for subsequent approval.
In this process, the work led by the Municipal Government of Portovelo, its councilors, and its technical team, with the support of Nature and Culture International, and Andes Amazon Fund, has been fundamental.