Chapala Wetlands Decimated: There are better options for Chapala.
The Jalisco government along with Chapala City Hall have recently removed much of the natural wetlands around Chapala. This seems like a serious error in judgment and not in the best interests of our town or wildlife. Let me explain.
Wetlands provide shelter for birds, fish and micro-organisms, as well as reducing erosion from winds and waves. Wetlands are also a natural water filtering system. Most fish are structure-oriented and these wetland plants provide food and shelter in the form of micro-organisms. Many of the birds that roost in the cattails feed on the fish and fry.
Chapala should be supporting the growth of these wetland plants and using them to its advantage. Here are two excellent ideas about how this can be achieved:
Work to certify Chapala as a National Bird Sanctuary, especially at Cristiania Park.
Bird watching is a big business and generates US$25 billion a year between Mexico, Canada and the United States. With global warming, we need to protect our wildlife and keep our lake clean. We can accomplish both by restoring our wetlands and bringing tourist dollars to Chapala.
Bass Fishing offers a huge revenue potential for Chapala.
Chapala has already hosted several bass fishing tournaments and each time the organizers doubled the number of boats enrolled. Bass fishing could generate millions of pesos for Chapala. Bass/Lobina are structure fish and removing the wetlands will kill that business potential as well as the entire ecosystem. Let’s compete with Agua Milpas!
Two years ago, my wife and I woke up to thousands of Yellow-breasted blackbirds flying over our home in Chapala. They would return at dusk and it was an amazing sight and sound. Now they have gone due to the removal of the wetlands where they previously roosted.
I see Chapala as a progressive town with an environmental and financial vision that would court visitors and eco-tourism. I also envision Chapala as a municipality that inspires other communities to protect and preserve the beautiful natural habitat we have been entrusted with. It is our duty and responsibility to do so.
Let’s assemble a team of concerned citizens and expats to promote Chapala as a recreational haven for bass fishing and bird watching and in so doing, preserve our natural resources and create jobs and tourism for the area. This is a win-win proposition for everyone!