By Julie Etra
On November 29, 2015, the Comité Rio Copalita held a fund raising and awareness benefit to highlight the destruction of a reach of the river that flows through their community. Three sand and gravel contractors are dredging the river between the pueblo and the northern boundary of the Parque Eco-Arqueológico Copaalita, apparently without any permits and with no environmental oversight by government agencies charged with environmental protection agency (La Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente, PROFEPA) or overseeing natural resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, SEMARNAT).
These operations are wreaking havoc on the ecosystem, destroying fisheries, lowering the water table, and causing severe erosion. The Copalita River Committee has initiated a program of reforestation, with an accompanying nursery and emphasis on floodplain restoration using native trees. They could use some help collecting seed, starting seedlings, and planting, as well as material donations of plastic bags for propagation (available at Casa Pepe) and a hose and system for watering from the river instead of hauling buckets. Two Eye writers have purchased and donated a brand new pump, but the community now needs the hose and connectors. As they have said, the river belongs to everyone. For more information go to their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ecologico2015?fref=photo) or contact the EYE (firstname.lastname@example.org).