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Watershed Management Programme

Watershed management units in Jamaica support the cycling of Jamaica’s clean water supply. The water drains from the mountains, moving through streams, rivers and underground channels, making its way to the sea. Once there, it evaporates, returning later to the earth as rain to continue the cycle. The PBPA includes the lower halves of two watershed management units, the Rio Cobre and the Rio Minho, but most of its conservation objectives are directly or indirectly affected by activities in the upper watersheds in ways that are not all well understood or documented. The watershed management program aims to tackle the issues affecting Jamaica’s watersheds. Such issues include fires, flooding and soil erosion.

Problems

According to several studies, the main threats to the Rio Cobre and the Rio Minho are similar, and include: - cultivation on steep slopes - sheet erosion, gullying and landslips - grazing - fires - road construction - fertilizers - flooding in the coastal plains - extraction of sand and gravel

Ongoing Measures

- NEPA has an ongoing watershed management programme and a climate change adaptation project which includes activities in the Rio Minho and Rio Cobre watershed. - The Clarendon PDC has a planning grant from the GEF for a rainwater harvesting project, and a tree planting project in Pleasant Valley, north of May Pen. -Mocho Development Council is developing a demonstration site with greenhouses, solar energy rainwater harvesting and recycling.