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Subject: Cuatro Cienegas mining round 2 - letters requested (fwd)
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 17 Dec 1996 10:10:08 -0700

TEXT/PLAIN (72 lines)

Sorry for crosspostings.  The court date has been delayed until December
27, 1996.  Any further submissions will help to protect this valuable
resource.  Please forward to other interested parties.  Please read on.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 01 Dec 1996 18:10:03 -0600 (CST)
From: Dean A. Hendrickson <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Cuatro Cienegas mining round 2 - letters requested

Interested parties,

This is an URGENT request for letters supporting the closure of gypsum
mining in the Mexican National Protected Area of Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila,
Mexico. For those of you unfamiliar with this case, you'll find more
information below, but for those aware of the situation, here's "the bottom
line" first -  On December 4, the Mexican Federal Agency PROFEPA must plead
its case for closure of gypsum mining in the Mexican Federal court in
Torreon. In support of their case, Dr. Rodolfo Garza, Secretary of Ecology
for the State of  Coahuila, has once again requested letters from interested
parties. Please help by e-mailing your letters (IMMEDIATELY) to Dr. Garza at
[log in to unmask] Even very brief notes will be helpful. Also, please
pass this request for letters on to others you feel may be interested.

Now for some background - In early July of this year I circulated a request
for letters supporting the closure, by Mexican Federal and State Government
agencies, of gypsum mining in the valley of Cuatro Cienegas. This small
desert valley with its thousands of springs and diverse aquatic and
terrestrial habitats was declared a National Protected Area in November
1994, but mining was continuing inside the protected area boundary. Many
responded to this plea, and their letters were in large part responsible for
imposition of the closure by the Federal government. Since then, however,
the owner of the mine objected and filed suit, and despite this being a
National Protected Area, and despite the pleas of the Federal and State
Environmental agencies, as well as the many letters from many NGO's and
private individuals supporting the closure, the courts again opened the area
to mining and miners are now back at work 7 days a week.

The unique gypsum dunes of Cuatro Cienegas, home to a number of endemic
plants and of great scenic beauty, are already severely depleted and at
present rates of exploitation it will not be long before they are completely
gone. Local residents are very much interested in conservation of their
valley, with it's highly endemic, and much-studied, fauna and flora, yet
lack economic resources. Development of ecotourism to promote conservation
and support the local economy is a very real possibility. The scenic gypsum
dunes would likely be a key attraction for tourism, so mining is not only
impacting the endemic biodiversity, but also the long term prospects for a
sustainable local economy. The Federal court rejected the closure apparently
on the basis of arguments by the mining company that it unfairly impacted
economically on the unemployed miners (about 90 of them). The Coahuila State
Ecology office of Dr. Garza, had, however, committed to employing the same
miners in dune restoration and other activities for a minimum of a year
while also helping them find other jobs. Letters can help demonstrate to the
court that ecotourism may be a viable, long term economic benefit of
conservation action in Cuatro Cienegas.

More information on Cuatro Cienegas may be found at:

and in an article (Mexico's Desert Aquarium) in the October 1995 National
Geographic magazine.

Thank you once again for your letters,

Dean Hendrickson
   Dean A. Hendrickson, Curator of Ichthyology, Texas Natural
   History Collection, R4000, University of Texas, Austin, TX
   78712-1100, U.S.A.; phone/FAX (512)471-9774 / 9775;
   e-mail: [log in to unmask];
   TNHC data bases etc.-

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