The service of Lake Texcoco will be ecosystemic

This Tuesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the declaration of the Natural Protected Area of ​​Lake Texcoco. In this framework, the scientific reference that supports the designation was also announced through the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt).

It is the Natural Protected Area number 184, with the category of Natural Resources Protection Area, this means that it has a focus not only on conservation, but also on sustainable use. These 14,000 hectares are added to the more than 90 million that Mexico has under protection status.

The document called “First Delivery of the National Information Ecosystem, Chapter Rescue of Lake Texcoco” presents a diagnosis and recommendations for the socio-environmental restoration of the region, which include a soil and sediment survey report, and a collection of statistical and cartographic information .

A unique soil on the planet

Dr. María del Carmen Gutiérrez Castorena, research professor of the Edaphology program of the Postgraduate College, presented the findings in the area. From the outset, she revealed that at the bottom of Lake Texcoco, a maximum depth of 70 meters was found, in which certain lacustrine sediments (hypersaline hydrogel) have accumulated. “In its natural condition, it managed to retain more than 500% moisture, that is, 80% of it is water (63 meters) and 20% is solid (7 meters) dominated by cations and anions that give it a very special to its chemical, physical and biological properties, therefore it is considered a unique soil on our planet”.

However, he explains that 100 years ago, when the artificial drying of the lake was decreed and a continuous process of moisture loss began, this was drastic, which led to subsidence, cracks, dust storm problems and increased salinization, which which brought public health problems.

50 years ago, it was also decreed that it was worth grazing the area, however these problems have not been resolved in all that time despite millionaire investments. “As of 2014, when it was decreed as an area for an airport, the impact was much greater on the drying of materials, since it was proposed as a technological innovation to accelerate the sinking process through the extraction of water in an aggressive process, without take into account that it is a basin where the entire city is related”.

Currently, he said, after sampling and characterizing the soil, it was determined that there is a great diversity of soils in the area, 44 in total, each one with certain peculiarities, “which makes it extremely heterogeneous”, some are not have been reported internationally, so it should be preserved as an “edaphic heritage”.

Regarding the quality of the soil, the researcher assured that “it is determined by the very high concentration of sodium”, which is a serious problem for the growth of plants, since it is very toxic.

The repercussions of this are two: On the surface,

“There is a high risk of wind erosion, which means detachment of particles and therefore contamination to the conurbation area.” In the subsoil, “it associates with water and automatically forms caustic soda, that is, corrosive water, which will further increase the alkalinity and therefore make it much more difficult to succeed with anything that is done in the area.”

In conclusion, Gutiérrez Castorena, assures that the soils are of very poor quality for any economic activity, so they must be preserved in their natural state, “the idea is not to alter them, and any use requires constant and high maintenance, with the risk of failure and abandonment.

The service of the lake must be ecosystemic

Specialists say that we cannot afford to remove moisture from the area, so its water regulatory function must be maintained and conserved, to allow wildlife and increase carbon sequestration in those sites; its function would also be as a climate regulator.

In this sense, Ignacio José March Mifsut, director of evaluation and monitoring of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, said that the studies revealed that there are at least 650 species of flora and fauna that remain in this area, but this could double or triple as research progresses.

As an example, among the species detected is the Mexican axolotl, bioculturally important and of interest for biomedical research, “because they are used to study a series of processes for human health, they have an evolutionary path like few other species. the effects of human aging.

It also receives more than 150 million waterfowl from Canada and the United States, they are species that have an impact on a continental level. “We hope that under this protection the lake ecosystem will gradually be restored, and that other areas will be added, to constitute a mirror of water that can receive three times as many of these birds.” He added that it is an interesting place to observe birds in Mexico, an important resource for environmental education.

In addition, it was defined as a regulating vessel in atypical rains, since totally anomalous rain patterns are established with climate change, with this these behaviors could be mitigated. In addition to feeding the aquifers from which we obtain water for that part of the territory.

In the presentation of the document that proposes the rescue of Lake Texcoco, María Elena Álvarez Buylla, director of Conacyt, reported that this project is part of the research and advocacy agendas of the National Strategic Ecological Systems and Sustainability Program promoted by the Council as part of the programmatic axes.

Álvarez-Buylla added that this process will continue to be accompanied, “feeding the repository through the national projects that are already approved for the area.”

The challenge is to be an example of sustainable use: Institute of Ecology

Dr. Juan Martínez Gómez, a researcher at the AC Institute of Ecology (INECOL), believes: “Hearing that this area of ​​Texcoco will be a protected zone from the outset can provide hope, it can help us think that its management can generate a healthier environment near of Mexico City and that can help regulate water flows”, but there is another important part, he said.

The country’s ANPs require investment, care and “here we must think that it must be endowed with a team, an advisory council and a community involved in the governance and management of the area. Finally with a budget and clear rules”.

He explains that when we have a lake as a Natural Protected Area, the vegetation zones have to be maintained in adverse conditions to the existence of a lake, because there is a process of degradation, with silt and with it the loss of the lake. This is the next challenge, “you have to preserve it and go all out…When there is consensus, inclusive management programs, the construction of a participatory democracy, there are successes, and we have several examples in the country, that should happen in this zone”.

He recalled that from the time an ANP is established, in no more than a year the management program must be made known. “These are sent for public consultation so that all those who can contribute, both specialists and inhabitants of the area, can participate widely.”

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