MAAP #202: Protecting Strategic, Free-flowing River Corridors in the Ecuadorian Amazon

January 18, 2024

MAAP #202 presents a model river conservation strategy proposed by the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute that is designed to protect strategic free-flowing river corridors with the intent to conserve freshwater resources and their surrounding riparian forests, encourage sustainable economic alternatives, and preserve free-flowing ecological connectivity at the basin scale.

Their protection and management are an urgent national priority as only a few high-quality and ecologically intact Andean-Amazon watershed corridors in Ecuador remain. The strategy proposal targets strategic corridors that have three major characteristics:

  1. Free-flowing rivers with no dams, diversions, or channel modifications, and no mining or dredging
  2. High-quality rivers that are a reference for water quality and have exceptional natural and cultural values
  3. Forested riparian buffer zones to preserve the quality and integrity of the river corridor, enhance the ecological connectivity between protected areas, and preserve habitat throughout critical transition zones

The Base Map illustrates two proposed pilot projects in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon:

  • The Jondachi-Hollín-Misahuallí-Napo River Corridor which would protect 193 km of a free-flowing river draining two national parks.
  • The Piatúa River Corridor which would protect 46 km of free-flowing rivers draining another national park


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