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left arrowPrevious Newsletter No. 29, February 22, 2002 Nextright arrow

Except for the six late nests carefully placed in the sand beside the nursery, the 2001 nesting season is over. On February 5th, a cheering crowd of well-wishers released the last seven hatchlings a little after sundown. The table below shows the final tally.

San Francisco Nursery - Olive Ridley, (Lepidochelys olivacea)

2001 Nesting Season


Eggs collected

Hatchlings released


Nests placed in the nursery
June 22nd to November 15th





Relocated within the beach
July 15th to September 30th





Relocated within the beach
October 1st to March 15th





Nests taken by the poachers





Turtles killed by poachers





Nests washed out by the surf





Total 2001 Nesting Season





Total 2000 Nesting Season





Grant writers to the rescue, Jeff's and Stephanie Ried of Seattle had spent what we hope was an enjoyable two weeks vacation trip to San Pancho and the country about. While here Jeff's was focused on the task of gathering information and drafting text that will be used to support further grant writing in Seattle. Hopefully, if all goes well, financial help could materialize by the end of the year. But for now it will be business as usual, with T-shirts to sell and donations to collect if we are to make it through this coming summer.

Also through the generous help of Jeff and Stephanie Ried, and Jeff's employer, the Group received an excellent Compaq laptop computer. Over the years both members and volunteers have felt that a laptop, if used properly at the nursery, would significantly reduce confusion and save time. Processing nursery information has never been easy, and often information is lost, misread, or conflicting, causing many extra trips between the office computer and the nursery a mile away.

The source of San Pancho's water comes from a well that reaches to a depth of about 146 feet (to bedrock). When the river is flowing, the surface of the water table should stand about 17 feet below the pump, giving us about 129 feet of water. This week we spoke to the director of the water district who pointed out that our well has dropped 20 meters or about 64 feet over the past two months, and water rationing may be slated for March, unless we receive more rain.

If you ask why the impending water shortage? Many in the town point to the dry summer, and some will add community growth. Compelling answers, and if true they leave us with only one fundamental solution, greater protection of the 27 square-mile watershed, the source of the community water,. The key to having adequate water simply depends on the lands ability to absorb, hold, and release water throughout the year. Normally, pelting summer rains are buffered by the jungle canopy, filtered through the undergrowth, and slowly absorbed by the unexposed soils. Eventually moisture is carried downward through the fractured rock, stream beds and rivers, finding its way into our aquifer, (our aquifer is estimated to be only 4% of the total size of our watershed, and is located throughout the rivers lower alluvial fan).

Our river is a key indicator of the watershed's future problems. Our river should flow clearly and evenly throughout most of the year, flooding of any kind should mild and few and far between. Today, deforestation of the jungle, and the removing of ground cover through heavy grazing, is slowing destroying our watershed's ability to absorb, hold, release water to the community.

It is amazing how much trash, debris and garbage a small band of town kids can clean up in a short three hours, A total of 28 kids and adults pickup over 75 large bags loads, (see photo below). This year we are going to try a different way of rewarding kids for their work. For each cleanup the kids will receive points on how well they worked. Good: 3 points. Fair: 2 points. Poor: 1 point. Each three months the top seven will go to the water slides. Then the whole scheme starts over again.

Frank D Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.


February cleanup crew sitting on the Dune Buggy

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