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Newsletter No. 83 ~ Febeuary/March, 2008
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Hola Volunteers, Friends, and Supporters ~

On February 7th, the last 26 hatchlings were released during sundown. The final count of the 2007 season stands at 66,360 hatchlings released, with an overall survival rate of 85.5%. Total nests recorded stands at 902. This is roughly a 31% increase over the 2006 season, and a 450% increase over the first season in 1992.

The day after the final release, the nursery was stripped of its plastic cover and thoroughly washed, revealing a termite riddled structure, which could have collapsed at any time under the weight of 7.5 tons of sand. Tim, the owner of the local furniture and carpentry factory, donated enough termite resistant hardwood to replace the affected lumber. The remaining pine will be treated with a termite resistant spray that will not harm the hatchlings. Unlike previous years, the nursery is being rebuilt as soon as possible to avoid the heat of May and June.

To avoid the heat of May and June, we are also planning to replace the fenders and gas pedal and repair the alternator and front-end suspension as soon as possible. If all goes well and we can find parts for the front-end, it should be ready by the end of March.

This year's volunteers come from many countries: Canada, Sweden, England, Mexico, Poland, and the United States. The enlistment of some twenty-five is on target with all but six positions filled. Construction of the second volunteer residence is on target as well. (See photo below.)

I may be wrong but I believe that the town's water comes from two of three separate aquifers. The major (upper) aquifer begins at the bridge and extends several miles northeastward up four riverbeds. The secondary (lower) aquifer begins at the bridge and runs through town to the sea. The third (Las Olas) aquifer is a group of small basins that lies under Las Olas and the adjoining golf course.

The "upper aquifer" is fed from the watershed above town via several drainages. Surplus water from the this aquifer is forced to the surface by a lip of underground rock that extends from Knob Hill down the west side of Nuevo Galicia, under the bridge and up the hillside on the far side of the main highway. It is this lip of rock that established the location and foundation of the bridge. I believe that saltwater cannot invade the upper three wells because of this lip of rock. In addition, it is important to note that when the river dries up at the bridge, the water level within the "upper or major aquifer" is beginning to drop.

The "lower aquifer" is fed by spillover from the "upper aquifer" and a small watershed to the south of town that leads up the highway to Puerto Vallarta. The single well in this aquifer could be invaded by saltwater and/or sewage if over pumped.

The "Las Olas aquifer" is a group of small basins lying under Las Olas and the adjoining golf course. These basins are not connected to the "upper or lower aquifers." Hundreds of years ago, a small lake flourished about 200 feet below calle America Latina and along the south wall of Las Olas. This lake was a major source of freshwater for the Indians that occupied the hillside next to where I live. This Indian site is littered with hundreds of potshards and obsidian flakes and is host to several Indian graves.

The illusion that more wells in any of these aquifers will bring more water is false. More straws in a glass of water will bring more water for a while but will eventually empty the glass quicker. Only more rain, protection of the watershed and/or desalination will bring more water. Another illusion is the idea that a giant aquifer lies beneath San Pancho stretching to the hills beyond. If you believe this, you may also believe the earth sits on the back of a turtle.

Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C
Mexico tel. (311) 258-4100
America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, Mexico


Second story of the volunteer house......... Wild flowers in the jungle

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