Help Kokatat Protect Free-Flowing Rivers in Ecuador

by darcy-gaechter
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Ecuador’s best whitewater is under siege and the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute has teamed up with a number of industry partners to help save one of Ecuador’s most valuable resources—its rivers.
Darcy Gaechter
by Darcy Gaechter

Darcy runs Small World Adventures, a kayak guiding business in Ecuador, and is the author of The Kayaker's Guide to Ecuador.

The Jondachi and Piatua Rivers, among others, are threatened by poorly-conceived hydroelectric projects that will eliminate two of the most important paddlesports tourism destinations in Ecuador, as well as destroy critical Andean-Amazon habitat, incredible biodiversity, and free-flowing connectivity. These hydroelectric projects are high-cost, high-risk investments, and overall offer very little benefit to the country of Ecuador.

This year’s Jondachi Festival is scheduled for January 20th-22nd 2017, and the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute is holding their annual fundraiser to raise money for the festival and for river conservation in Ecuador.

Tarquino Waterfall - photo Chris Emerick
Tarquino Waterfall - photo Chris Emerick

Want to learn more about the campaign and what the ERI is fighting for?

Thanks to the support we received from last year’s 2016 JONDACHI FEST event, we greatly increased the recognition and awareness about the value and importance of preserving the Jondachi River, and we are moving forward with the support of government institutions and local indigenous communities for the designation of the proposed Jondachi-Hollín wild & scenic ecological corridor as a protected area through a municipal ordinance.

However, while we are advancing with our efforts to preserve the Jondachi River, a private Ecuadorian company has proposed the development of a new hydroelectric project on the Piatua River that is moving forward fast and needs urgent attention. The proposed trans-basin hydro scheme would open a new access road to the Piatua River and build a dam that would divert most of the flow from the Piatua River over to the Anzu River, leaving the entire paddling section de-watered.

Over the last 10 years, we have lost important resources of ecological connectivity and paddle sports tourism in Ecuador due to new hydro projects on the Topo, Quijos, Papallacta, Coca, Due, Pusuno, Toachi, Pilaton, and Verde Chico Rivers.

With the Piatua and the Jondachi at stake, the fight to protect ecologically crucial rivers has never before been more important. There are numerous alternatives for optimizing existing hydro schemes and developing new hydro projects on rivers of low resource quality, which are already impacted or close to large population centers and existing infrastructure, and that are NOT established adventure tourism destinations, and are not part of the ecologically sensitive Andes to Amazon corridor.

About 12,000 international tourists participate in whitewater paddlesports tourism each year in Ecuador representing a USD $30 million economy with huge potential for continued growth, as long as the quality and integrity of the most important river destinations can be preserved. We are gaining momentum as a paddlesports community, and need to come together to preserve these special river resources.

Upper Jondachi River - Photo Darcy Gaechter
Upper Jondachi River - Photo Darcy Gaechter

How can you help?

We need your help now so we can continue our efforts to protect the Jondachi River, and keep hydroelectric development off of the Piatua River.

Please donate what you can to support the cause and take advantage of the wonderful incentives that our industry sponsors have provided in order to help the ERI provide more value for your contribution

What’s in it for you?

Lots! Depending on how much you are able to donate, there are a number of awesome incentives for donations. You can collect on anything from a Canoe and Kayak subscription, a copy of The Kayaker’s Guide to Ecuador, a Kokatat Blast Shorty, up to an all-inclusive week of kayaking in Ecuador with Small World Adventures.

Visit the Indiegogo campaign for details and to see what else you can collect for your donation.

Can’t donate enough to collect on one of these prizes?

Not to worry, you can still win a Jackson Kayak of your choice by working hard to raise money for the cause. To participate, join Indiegogo’s referral program and get your friends to donate. Raise the most money to protect Ecuador’s Rivers, and you’ll win the kayak.

It’s actually fairly simple AND you’ll be helping to raise money for an awesome cause in the process.

Liam Kirkham on Upper Jondachi - photo Darcy Gaechter
Liam Kirkham on Upper Jondachi - photo Darcy Gaechter

We need your help now so we can continue our efforts to protect the Jondachi River

Don Beveridge, Darcy Gaechter and Alex Dent - Middle Jondachi / Tarquino waterfall - photo Chris Emerick / Jondachi River