Save Osa Rivers

Dec 30, 2010 No Comments by Sea Stories

As you may know, late last year we heard it was not only the Río Tigre that was under threat of environmentally damaging in‐stream gravel mining. In January, a volunteer went to San Jose on a fact‐finding mission and we learned that the problem was much larger than we imagined. There was a potential for 14 sand and gravel extraction concessions—approximately 24 kilometers (14.9 miles)—on Mive of Osa’s rivers! The Río Rincón, Río Barrigones, Río Agujas, Río Tigre and Río Piro all have their headwaters in the Corcovado National Park or the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve. All have river mining concessions going through the approval process.

We acted immediately by sending out notices nationwide, attending meetings with other environmental organizations, talking with researchers, collecting Miles, and visiting the pertinent government ofMices in San Jose. The campaign has expanded and we now have a national team of lawyers, biologists and engineers, as well as a few other conservation organizations joining in, signing legal documents, and donating time and money.

To view photographs and read more of this riveting newsletter, click here.

To read exciting new developments in the Save Osa’s Rivers project, click here.


Liz Jones discovered the Osa and its incredible biodiversity in 1993. In 1995 she purchased a piece of property in the remote village of Dos Brazos, on the Rio Tigre and in 1998, with her Costa Rican husband, opened a Bosque del Rio Tigre, a small eco-lodge specializing in birding and natural history guiding.

Throughout her life, Liz has had a passionate connection to the forest and its rivers with her childhood spent roaming the New Jersey Pine Barrens looking for rare plants and animals with her mother, an avid naturalist and biologist.

In 2001, Liz attempted unsuccessfully to get support for an environmentally sound approach to the acquisition of gravel and rock for roads and building materials, which were being taken from the local rivers. Few people, even hard-core environmentalists, truly understood the dynamics and ecosystems of rivers and their connection with the surrounding forests, mangroves and ocean. Fortunately now things have changed and with more information available, many local people are joining the campaign, started in 2009, to preserve the rivers of the Osa. Between 2007-2009, she and her husband, Abraham Gallo, conducted the first serious studies on three of the most endangered, range-restricted birds of the Osa.

Steve Prchal began his career at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum where he served as Assistant Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates for 16 years. In the early ’80s his growing interest in insects and other arthropods led to his leaving ASDM in 1986 to found the Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute whose mission was to “turn the world onto bugs.”  As its Director, SASI soon became well known in the museum and zoo industries, especially because of its Invertebrates in Captivity Conference initiated in 1993.

In 2001, Steve took a three month sabbatical to work with Costa Rican butterfly farmers exploring other species of insects which might be produced in captivity for live export to exhibitions in North America and Europe. That led to a year-long grant in 2003 from the Smithsonian Insect Zoo to continue the efforts of bringing non-butterfly species to market. Steve soon fell in love with Costa Rica, its people, and especially its biodiversity. With 50 years as a desert rat exploring and working to conserve the Sonoran Desert region, he decided it was time for a new chapter in his life, in a totally different environment. He left SASI on its 20th birthday in 2006 and founded Ventanas en Corcovado Foundations, whose mission was to develop a research and education center to promote sustainable insect farming on the Osa Peninsula. Insect farming and facility development has had its ups and downs, but protecting Osa’s rivers serves his need to be involved in local conservation efforts.

Adrift, Hibernal 2011

About the Editors

Casey R. Schulke grew up along the Kuskokwim River in a rural Athabascan village in Alaska fishing for king salmon and mushing her sled dog team. She now resides on the shores of Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. Casey's a poet, a naturalist, a dog-lover, has two birds, and is married to a wonderful man.
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