The environmental collapse in the Patía River, Colombia: morphological variations and impacts on mangrove ecosystems

Adriana S. Parra, Juan D. Restrepo Ángel


DOI: https://doi.org/10.3856/vol42-issue1-fulltext-4

The Patía River delta has experienced major morphological variations in the last four decades due to anthropogenic pressures. The diversion of the Patía River to the Sanquianga River as a result of the construction of the Canal Naranjo in 1973, and the former development of the Patianga River, has generated complex environmental issues that are evidenced by the reactivation of the northern delta lobe and the abandonment of the previous river mouth in the southern lobe. This paper analyzes the main alterations taking place in the Patia delta as a result of the river diversion and the consequent variations in the water and sediment discharge. This alterations are reflected in: (1) drastic changes in coastline, with erosion rates up to 70 m y-1; (2) freshening conditions in the Sanguianga distributary channel, a hydrologic change that has shifted the upper estuarine region (salinity <1) 15 km downstream; and (3) alterations in the Sanquianga National Park land cover with increase in freshwater vegetation up to 42%, and decrease in mangrove cover up to 31% for a 15 years period. The current conditions of the Patía River delta are a clear example of the importance of human activities as change agents in the evolution of deltaic systems, and also reveal the need of deepen in the studies of this delta and establish appropriate management and conservation strategies.

Parra A, Restrepo Ángel J. The environmental collapse in the Patía River, Colombia: morphological variations and impacts on mangrove ecosystems. Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res.. 2017;42(1): 40-60. Available from: doi:10.3856/vol42-issue1-fulltext-4 [Accessed 25 Jan. 2021].
Parra, A., & Restrepo Ángel, J. (2017). The environmental collapse in the Patía River, Colombia: morphological variations and impacts on mangrove ecosystems. Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research, 42(1), 40-60. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3856/vol42-issue1-fulltext-4