Forest connectivity, protection of water resources, urban sanitation, and more.
MONTEVERDE'S WASTE WATER
Integrated Waste Water Commission - CEGIREH
Awarded Small Grant, 2017
Strategic implementation and financing for three processes related to the integrated waste water management.
WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?
Municipal Solid Waste Management Commission (COMIRES)
2017 MCF Grant Recipient
“The Monteverde Community Fund is the crucial seed funder for local innovation. MCF enables local organizations to establish a baseline of information and experience which can lead to other funding opportunities.”
-Justin Welch, COMIRES member
The average Costa Rican produces between 0.6 and 1.1 kg of waste daily--40-60% of which is organic material. In Monteverde, where approximately 440 tons of organic waste went to a landfill in 2016, our waste challenge is not going away (COMIRES 2018 Feasibility Study).
“Organic waste management is the most sensible thing we can do: it is revenue positive, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, conserves limited landfill space, and provides a valuable organic product for restoring local soils. It’s past time to figure out a way to manage organics locally, at scale, and in an economically and environmentally beneficial way,” said Justin Welch, leader of Monteverde’s Municipal Solid Waste Management Commission (COMIRES) organic waste pilot project which was founded in 2012.
The pilot Justin spearheaded studied scalable composting methods and potential markets for composted material. They evaluated the quality of product material, the economic, legal and logistical implications, and also discovered potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions-- important for Monteverde’s leadership role in the nation-wide carbon neutral mission.
Monteverde is on the cutting edge of this type of planning: centralized municipal composting is rare in Costa Rica. “The Community Fund’s role is so unique and important. It provides the local investment in bottom-up processes that helps us [COMIRES] build a solid foundation for our ideas, which in turn allows us to then leverage outside resources.”
A Bit of Background
Monteverde is a semi-rural region located in the Tilarán mountain range of Costa Rica that has a local population of approximately 6,000 inhabitants. It is famous worldwide for its successful preservation of tropical forests, including the sparse and fragile cloud forest. Its private reserve complex, the largest in Central America, has allowed the establishment of a strong tourism industry in addition to traditional economic activities such as coffee and milk production. According to official figures from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, the region experiences an annual visit of approximately 200,000 tourists.
Demonstrating the unique biodiversity of Monteverde, just the upper part contains seven of Costa Rica's approximately 12 Holdridge Life Zones, hosting:
> 2,000 species of plants
> 450 bird species
133 neo-tropical migrants
29 endemic, and
20 on the IUCN Red List
83 species of mammals.
It is worth mentioning that the Monteverde area is also a great source of water both for human consumption and for agricultural and hydroelectric production in communities along both slopes.
Although tourism has brought many positive things to Monteverde, it also brings great challenges such as unplanned urban development and increasing pressure on the quality and quantity of natural resources. Other factors such as patterns in land use and climate change, among others, also present serious challenges for the conservation of biodiversity, natural resources and the scenic beauty of our region.
In addition to absolute protection of forests, there is a growing movement in the civil sector to address environmental challenges outside protected wild areas. One of the most representative initiatives of this movement is the Bell Bird Biological Corridor (BBBC), which is made up of a group of public and private entities that aims to connect critical habitat between the cloud forest of Monteverde and the mangrove forest on the coast of the Gulf of Nicoya.
ENVIRONMENTAL FUND'S PURPOSE
The purpose of our Environmental Fund in our Small Grants Program is to support local grassroots groups with seed funds that will allow them to meet the existing challenges with their own ideas and methods. Also, this contribution - which is more than matched by the resources mobilized by the community itself - provides an opportunity to leverage more funding from other sources, be they national or international.
The goals presented below represent the environmental issues prioritized by the communities as part of the strategic planning process of the BBBC and other open consultations.
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